When you go to bed at night, as soon as you hit the pillow, do you get all these pop up bubbles of thoughts of the day of what you didn't do or what you should have done? I hate that. Well, most nights I hate that. But last night I didn't hate. The perfect pop up bubble on how to make this cheesecake (2 tries) become better.
When I first made this cheesecake days ago I just wasn't happy with the ganache--it wasn't nutella-ly enough. And after days of trying to figure out what to do to change it before I posted it, it finally hit me in a pop up bubble last night (just after watching Top Chef Desserts too). I realized the chocolate I used was too strong; I should have used a milk chocolate instead of a bittersweet chocolate. So keep that in mind should you want to make this. A couple notes on this cheesecake. I am not a big fan of pumpkin cake or pie. So this cheesecake has a very mild pumpkin flavor; I used very little pumpkin spice flavoring and more cinnamon. But feel free to adjust however you like it--for some it might be too mild for you.
I am back to kind of loving Top Chef Desserts. Well, I was really happy that Yigit won last night. I just love him--he's so cute, so adorable, not to mention super talented. Did you also see that a Top Chef All Stars is coming? I wish Bravo would think about doing a "common Joe" type Top Chef for amateurs with mad skills. It would fly, I know it would. I should pitch that shouldn't I? They they'd listen? Eh.
pumpkin cheesecake w/ nutella ganache
recipe by dawn finicane
1- 10 oz box of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies, crushed fine (I used all 2 sleeves)
1 stick salted butter, melted
Tiny pinch of sea salt
1 ts vietnamese cinnamon
4 - 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, room temp
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup heavy cream (maybe a little less)
3 large eggs and 2 large egg yolks
1 cup plus 3 TB pumpkin puree
1 ts of pure vanilla extract
1 ts cinnamon
Couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice mix (use as much as you like; I’m not fond of it, so I used very little)
½ cup (maybe a little more) of milk chocolate chips
4 TB nutella spread
A couple of splashes of heavy cream
2 TB room temp salted butter
as I said above I should have used the milk chocolate chips instead of the bittersweet chips. I truly think the milk chocolate will meld better with the nutella. Depending on how thick or thin you like your Ganache use more or less of the heavy cream. This makes a lot of crust for the 10-inch pan, but I like to have it thick, so if you don’t like it thick you could probably halve it. But with the remaining leftover crust I just put it in a bag and freeze or make a mini cheesecake. There will also be leftover cheesecake batter—haven’t figured out how to scale it down yet. But with the leftover crust and batter you can easily make 2 mini cheesecakes if you have the mini springform pans. Also, I do not have a mixer, I know, everyone always ask how I do it, but I do, been that way for decades. So I just use a food processer, works perfectly. But use what you feel comfortable with.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a measuring cup, crack open the eggs and egg yolks, set aside until ready to use.
Spray a 10-inch springform pan with non stick spray. In a food processor grind up the cookies into a fine crumb. In a bowl, combine the cookies, a pinch of salt, and the melted butter. Mix, then press into the bottom and partially up the sides of the springform pan. (I use a flat bottomed glass to press it in evenly). Note: there will be some crumbs leftover; I normally use more crumbs than the average cheesecake because I love a thick crumb.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust is just lightly brown around the edges, set aside and let cool. Reduce the oven heat to 300°F.
In a bowl combine the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and vanilla extract until mixed well, set aside. I used my food processor to make the cheesecake batter—I suppose you could use a mixer, but I don’t have one. With the food processor, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and lump free. Add in the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the eggs one at a time until all is mixed well; add in the heavy cream. Then add in the pumpkin puree mix slowly. Process until all is well mixed.
Most people like to do a water bath for their cheesecake. I never do, I find all too annoying. But if you want to do this please feel free; it’s best to bake your cheesecake how ever you feel most comfortable.
I baked this cheesecake at 300°F for one hour and a half; turned off oven and left it alone for a couple hours. By then your middle should be nice and set. Recipe & photos by Dawn Finicane of vanillakitchen.blogspot.com Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Just before you’re ready to serve this, add on the Ganache. The cheesecake tastes best when the Ganache is nice and warm.
to make ganache:
Over low heat, melt the milk chocolate chips with the nutella, and a few splashes of heavy cream. To get it nice and glossy, just keep stirring being careful not let chocolate burn. Once it’s all melted and combined add in the 2 TB of salted butter to get it nice and glossy. Pour Ganache over the top of cheesecake or over individual slices.