Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake, or The Cheesecake That Almost Burned Down My Home


This Paula Deen pumpkin cheesecake is so good. It's creamy and dense and pumpkiny and has a delicious graham cracker crust and is basically everything I'm looking for in an excellent dessert. It's also the recipe that almost burned down my kitchen, and perhaps my entire place. Now that's no fault of Paula Deen's. I was a fool!

When I started this baking project, I was really exhausted. That's mistake number 1. But the specific problem that led to such a close call was that I didn't put the springform pan on a baking sheet when it came time to bake the cheesecake. I put the pan directly onto the oven shelf and set the timer. Mere minutes after it was in the oven, me sitting happily and unaware in the living room trying to catch up on my DVR, I suddenly looked up and saw smoke everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE.

What had happened??? I panicked and ran to the kitchen, turned on the oven light, but did not want to open the oven door so I wouldn't release any heat; the cheesecake's structure was still setting. (Looking back, I can't believe I put my cheesecake before the welfare of my home and myself! Ha!) But when I didn't see anything unusual through the glass window of the oven door, I decided I would have to open it up. Sure enough, liquid from the cheesecake was dripping through the cracks in the springform pan and onto the bottom of the oven, creating smoke that the oven's tiny ventilation could not handle. My kitchen was a giant cloud. The smoke alarm went off and in my exhaustion, I thought, OH NO, that's the fire alarm! The firemen are coming! This is embarrassing! And my cheesecake is ruined!


I ran next door to get my neighbor and he helped me turn off the smoke alarm, we opened all the windows, put fans at the windows facing outward to pull the smoke out, and my neighbor bravely stuck his hand in my oven and cleaned the bottom of it with a rag so it would stop producing smoke.

Everything is fine now. The firemen didn't come. My place is not a pile of ashes. I'm safe. The cheesecake was not compromised by having the oven door open for so long to clean the bottom. And I learned a very big lesson about putting springform pans on baking sheets.

This is a cheesecake I'll never forget. But I swear, its incredible, rich taste is memorable, too!


Pumpkin Cheesecake
Recipe by Paula Deen on the Fall Harvest episode of the TV show "Paula's Home Cooking"

Crust
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter

Filling
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Step-by-Step in Pictures

To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon...

Press together to form a crust...

Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan (I also pressed the mixture about 1 inch up the sides of the pan...

Your crust is ready to go!

Beat the cream cheese until smooth...

Add pumpkin, eggs, sour cream...

Then add sugar and spices...

Then add flour and vanilla...

Pour the batter over the crust in the pan...

Bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour...

Let cool in the pan, then unlock and release the springform pan sides...

Chill before serving. Yum!

8 comments:

Mom said...

Your cheesecake looks so delicious! Wish I'd had a taste! Do you have any pictures of the smoky kitchen?!

Tzviah said...

I'm so excited that the recipe looks manageable! The cake was so good!

shopeatsleep said...

Ooo, that looks so good! And even I, who does not bake, knows to put a sheet under a spring form pan! LOL ;)

Christina said...

1. I hope your neighbor who bravely stuck her hand in to clean the cheesecake drippings got some of this pumpkin cheesecake.

2. Why didn't you call me to come eat this?

Marni said...

Mom - I'm trying NOT to remember the image of smoke throughout my kitchen that still haunts me!

Tzviah - Thanks! You should make it for a dairy shabbat the day after Thanksgiving!

Shopeatsleep - yeah yeah, i said i was tired! delirious, more like! i wasn't thinking straight!

Christina - my neighbor probably wanted nothing to do with the cheesecake that was to blame for him even being over to rescue me. and i didn't call you because i had to serve this at a potluck! you know i would have otherwise. :) you're at the top of my pumpkin calling list.

Leela said...

marni--- you MUST try the one at sbf it's amazing it has a gingersnap crust. and it has a pumpkin flavor which I claim expert too

Deborah Graff said...

Marni, only you can make a pumpkin cheesecake story this exciting. I love reading your writing!

Ellen said...

I just saw Paula Deen this week as one of the guests at a taping of the Bonnie Hunt show! She's awesome. Truly gracious.

http://goldenhourglass.blogspot.com/2009/11/paula-deen-on-bonnie-hunt-show.html

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