Sunday, November 8, 2009
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!
Recipe by Paula Deen on the Fall Harvest episode of the TV show "Paula's Home Cooking"
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter
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.
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
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!