All 5 of you who read this here blog probably already know this but, two months ago I moved to Georgia from Anchorage, AK. It was a 13 day, 5,260 mile, country-crossin' adventure. When we got to Georgia the man asked me what I wanted to do.
I said what any sane person who had been living in Alaska for 3 years would say: "I want to go to the Olive Garden." They don't have it up there in the great white north, don'tcha know?
Oh yes. I have waited tables at this fine establishment, and although it caused a deep and bitter hatred for people who eat at restaurants, it caused an ever lasting love for all things OG.
So we went, ate our delicious meal and then the man splurged. He went for something I had never even heard of, but that he knew he would love. He got a big ol' slice of pumpkin cheesecake. Upon taking his first bite he proclaimed it to be the most delicious thing he had ever eaten.
Until tonight that is.
Because tonight is his birthday. I have Braised Short Ribs... um, braising... but this morning (at 6:00AM I might add, because I am that awesome of a wife) I made the piece de resistance. I made a pumpkin cheesecake. But not just a pumpkin cheesecake. I made the pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake.
Since the ribs will take another hour or so, and since he's the birthday boy, he decided he was going to eat dessert first, which in my opinion is always a wise decision. He took the first bite. I waited on bated breath....
His eyes opened, ever so slightly, he looked at me and said, "I think this is even better than the OG's." And then he scarfed the whole piece in about 2.1 seconds. And then I ate a piece and said, "Oh, you're not just being nice, that pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake is the most glorious dessert to ever enter this home." And then I scarfed my piece in 3.4 seconds... I have some self-control.
Really though, this cheesecake hits all the right notes. It smells of pumpkin pie, it tastes smooth and creamy on the tongue, and there is a beautiful chocolate undertone. So good. I used a mash-up of numerous recipes so I'll give you the one I created. My cooking time was a bit off though. I had to cook this bad boy for an extra 40 minutes... it would just not set! But it did, and it cracked, but you know what? My husband thinks his birthday pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake is better than the Olive Garden pumpkin cheesecake. And that's all that matters.
I won this throwdown, OG!
|I call this "Le crack de contrast"|
1.5 cups gingersnap cookies, finely ground
1/8 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
4-6 ounces chocolate (any, I used about 1.5 oz dark and 3 mini Hershey milk chocolate bars from Halloween)
1 tablespoon butter
24 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 packages)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
15 ounces pureed pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
In a large bowl, or your mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, remaining sugar and flour until creamed. Add in the eggs, one at a time, the vanilla, pumpkin spice and pureed pumpkin. Beat on low until combined. Put chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until melted (yeah, ghetto, whatever, it worked) add roughly 1 cup of the pumpkin cheesecake mixture to the chocolate. Mix thoroughly, then pour chocolate mixture over the crust. Put in the oven for 10 minutes. This will make the chocolate layer set slightly, so it doesn't go all over the place when you pour the plain pumpkin cheesecake mixture in. After 10 minutes take the pan out and carefully pour the remaining mixture over the chocolate layer.
Turn the oven off and open the oven. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool on the stove top or a wire rack. Then refrigerate for as many hours as possible. This can be made a few days ahead of time.
You can tell the cheesecake is set when you bump it and the middle slightly jiggles. It shouldn't slosh all over the place though.
Another tip, when you're baking the cheesecake put a casserole dish filled with water on the other oven rack. Supposedly this will help the cheesecake to not crack. As you can see, it didn't help mine, but I think the weird cooking times and the foil tent is what caused it to crack. And again, it still tastes just as good with a crack in it.
|"Le crack de contrast rouge"|
So, that's all there is to that. This was my first cheesecake and I'm pretty damn happy with how it turned out. I will be making this again for Thanksgiving (along with lots of other goodies!) so I'm glad I know how delicious it is. But now the house smells like braised short ribs so, I must attend to those, and I will tell you all about them soon.
P.S. Happy birthday to my incredible husband, Brian! I love you!