Tamara Novacoviç continues her search for the perfect fall cake with this pumpkin cheesecake.
By Tamara Novacoviç
Do you like pumpkin in desserts? The most common pumpkin dessert here in the Balkan area is pumpkin strudel, in which pumpkin is most often combined with apples or cottage cheese. For a long time, this was the only pumpkin dessert I used to make. Then I started experimenting with it, browsing recipes over the internet, exploring new combinations. Once, there was a delicious pumpkin chocolate pie I made using Martha Stewart’s recipe. Then there were pumpkin brownies. Last year I made pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting for Halloween. And so came the time to try pumpkin cheesecake.
Being my favorite cake, I just had to try another version of cheesecake. And what better than the pumpkin one. Seasonal, flavorful, lovely. Markets are blooming with orange colors these days, so many types of pumpkins, waiting to be carved out for Halloween, given to pets, transformed into delicious pumpkin soups and greatest desserts.This type of cheesecake is new for my folks at home, but I have stumbled upon it numerous times on food blogs. It usually goes very well with caramel, which was convenient for me since I had 2 cans of condensed sweetened milk my friend Zorica had sent me from Canada. I finally opened one and put it to a good use. I made caramel cream called dulche de leche, something that goes “hand in hand” with pumpkin! You can make your own caramel sauce and drizzle it over this cake. I recommend you only drizzle the caramel. I brushed mine over the whole cheesecake, which made it really hard to cut it with knife, since it’s too sticky, so my caramel layer peeled off.
- 1½ cup (250 g) speculaas cookies
- 1 cup plus 1 tbsp (125 g) butter, melted
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 cups (500 g) cream cheese
- 1 cup (250 g) pumpkin puree
- 1 cup (200 g) brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod or 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 oz (300 g) sweetened condensed milk
- If you don't have store bought pumpkin puree, take a pumpkin, wash and cut it into pieces, place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 45 minutes at 200 C. I used 500 g of butternut squash. Let it cool to room temperature, then take out soft meat. Puree it in your blender.
- For the crust, combine ground speculaas cookies with melted butter and brown sugar, press it onto the bottom of springform pan (9,5 inch or 24 cm).
- Preheat oven to 320 F (160 C).
- For the filling, combine cream cheese with sugar, mix. Add eggs, one by one. Add vanilla beans (or extract) and spices. Add pumpkin puree. Pour onto the crust, bake for 60 minutes. Put a pot of water on the bottom of your oven while baking the cheesecake, it will make the filling nicer and creamier. When done, let cool to room temperature.
- For dulche de leche caramel, cook 1 can (300 g) of condensed milk on low heat, stirring, until it gets nice brown, caramel color. Drizzle over the cheesecake and store in fridge overnight.
Tamara Novakovic is a passionate self-taught cook, food blogger, freelance food writer and photographer behind bite-my-cake.blogspot.com. Her life journey has led her through Faculty of Humanities in Zagreb, Croatia to discovering passion for making cakes. She is currently a weekly food columnist for Croatian newspaper V magazine and food magazine Repete.