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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pumpkin cheesecake with gingerbread crust and candied kumquats

Besides the regular pumpkin pie and the occasional cheesecake with various stuff, we like to make pumpkin cheesecakes. :D. Because nothing beats the combination between creamy and flavorful. With a gingerbread crust to put you in the winter mood. And to top it off and maintain the color tone, freshly candied kumquats. Lovely, lovely, lovely. :)

Not too complicated to make. It just takes a little patience waiting for things to bake. Enjoy :).

Last year: El Submarino (Argentinian hot chocolate).
Two years ago: Wild rice risotto with peas and basil pesto.
Three years ago: Belgian brownies.
Four years ago: Polish buttermilk drink (Kwasne Mleko Ze Szczypiorkiem).

Ingredients (for a 23 cm springform tin):

For the crust:
  • 50 g walnuts
  • 180 g gingerbread (or 180 g graham crackers and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • 50 g melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the cheese cream:
  • 1 small pie pumpkin (1 kg)
  • 3 bricks of cream cheese (full-fat, of 175 g each)
  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dark brandy
  • 1 teaspoon of each: cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and all-spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:
  • 150 g kumquats
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Cut the pumpkin in half and discard its insides. Put it in the oven:

Bake it for 45-50 minutes or until the flesh is completely softened. When it's done, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool a bit. Lower the oven temperature to 180 degrees C.
Meanwhile, make the crust. Grind the gingerbread in a food processor together with the walnuts.

Add the melted butter and the sugar needed for the crust. Mix well. Transfer the mix to the cake tin:

Press it down into the tin until it forms an even base:

Scoop out the pumpkin flesh from the shell and put it into a food processor or mixer:

Mix well until the pumpkin is pureed. Add all of the other ingredients needed for the cream and mix some more until everything is even. Pour the pumpkin cream in the cake it, over the gingerbread base.

To bake the cheesecake, you have two options. Either lower the oven temperature to 160 degrees C and place the cheesecake, with its bottomed wrapped in aluminium wrap, in a larger dish with water just enough to reach the middle of the cheesecake height (pictured below); or just forget about the water bath and bake it just as it is, at 180 degrees C.

In my experience, both ways turn out great, but the water bath, even though a little more complicated, helps soothe the nerves of paranoid people (as I tend to be sometimes) who read too many horror stories on the internet about burnt cheesecakes :).
If you choose the water bath, bake it at 160 Degrees C for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
If you choose the normal baking, bake it at 180 degrees C for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
(If you're curious, just after taking these pictures, I changed my mind and went for the normal baking. Everything turned out fine.)

To make the topping, get the kumquats and wash them well.

Slice them thinly. Mix the water and the sugar and put them in a small pot over medium heat. Add the kumquats.

Let them cook, stirring once in a while, until everything looks softened and slightly caramelized (about 10 minutes). Then remove from the heat and set aside.
When the cheesecake is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes in a cool place.

Gently remove it from the tin and transfer it to a serving plate. Top it with the kumquats and all their syrup (which should have the consistency of jelly or jam).

Slice and dig in! :)
(Well, technically, cheesecakes are supposed to be served cold from the fridge, but you'll love it when it's warm as well, trust us).

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