Great Pumpkin Cheesecake

Great Pumpkin Cheesecake

Great Pumpkin Cheesecake

Makes one 10” cake

Level of difficulty: moderate

You can raise the dessert offering of your festive feast from mundane to great with a little effort and imagination. I used maple leaves and brushed them with melted butterscotch to create a 'wow' factor in the presentation of my gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake, but you can simply brush the butterscotch in an abstract pattern on parchment to decorate your own masterpiece.

For Crust
•2 cups ground pecans
1 tsp. ginger
•¼ cup brown sugar
•½ tbsp. grated orange zest
•1 egg white lightly beaten

For Filling
•500g. cream cheese
•2 eggs separated
•½ cup white sugar
•¾ cup 35% cream
•2 tbsp. rice flour or potato flour (use wheat flour if gluten isn’t an issue)
•1 ½ cups canned pure pumpkin (not pie filling)E.D. Smith is the best
•½ tbsp. grated orange zest
•1 tsp. each of: cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg

•2 cups butterscotch Chipits
•1 cup white sugar
•Parchment paper
•10 maple leaves (small and medium size)

•For crust – Preheat oven to 425
•line a 10” spring-form pan with parchment paper; mix together all ingredients for crust and press into the bottom of the lined pan, bake for 10 mins.

•Beat egg whites into soft peaks
•In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, add egg yolks and sugar, beat well
•Beat in cream, spices, zest, flour and pumpkin until thick and smooth
•Gently fold-in the egg whites
•Pour filling on top of crust, and bake at 425 for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 275 and bake for approx. 45 mins. more until filling shows cracks and is set in the middle (don’t overcook as cake should be creamy not dry)
•Cool completely before releasing from pan and decorating

To Decorate: clean and dry maple leaves then lightly coat the under side of each leaf with vegetable spray and place leaves on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Working in ½ cup batches (the butterscotch seizes quickly), melt Chipits in the microwave on medium for 95 secs. (approx.). With a small silicone spatula cover the sprayed side of each leaf remove each leaf to a cake rack to harden completely before peeling leaf away.

To apply leaves, melt more butterscotch and with a small spoon dab a bit on the wrong side of a butterscotch leaf, and stick it to the side of the cake, continue with rest of leaves, overlapping them slightly until the perimeter is covered.

To make toffee shapes melt the sugar over medium-high heat in a small skillet, swirl occasionally. When sugar is liquid, bubbling and dark amber in colour remove from heat and pour toffee from pan in a fine stream over the parchment making abstract shapes. When shapes have hardened, place one hand beneath the parchment under the first one you wish to release, with the other hand gently pull the paper down and peel shape off. Place shapes vertically on top of cake, gently pressing into the soft cake to secure.

Complementary Wines: Calvados, Cider: ice, Coffee: Dark Roast, Gewürztraminer Late Harvest, Muscat: orange

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