Would you believe that instead of running to spin class last night, I rushed home to bake a recipe I’d seen on Pinterest. I’ve been courting this cheesecake for days, thinking about the layers of luscious flavor — the rich, earthy pumpkin juxtaposed with the sharp flavor of coffee, all cut with varying textures of chocolate. Would you believe I dreamt about this cheesecake? Pictured it in the oven, told myself that it would be criminal to open the door as the delicate cake would cave in and crack?
Call me mad. But if this affection for cake is wrong, I most certainly don’t want to be right. Bring me my straightjacket and lullaby music, pretty please.
A note of caution before I enter rhapsody: always study recipes before you attack them. I’m pretty surgical when it comes to baking, and when I first spied this on The Daily Green, I was jubilant, but after a few reads, skeptical. First off, the photo is inaccurate. The photo looks like a plain cheesecake with a chocolate base — the finished result, on Organic Valley, is a much more accurate depiction. Expect a pale orange hue with a layer of cracked chocolate ganache on top and a coffee layer on the bottom. Also, I was disappointed by some of the technical mistakes in The Daily Green recipe (compare the two and you’ll see the glaring errors). In the end this recipe was a triumph with some modifications. My only gripe with the original is that the base was a bit too crumbly and acrid for my taste. On the next go, I plan to up the butter content and reduce the coffee grains.
What you’ll adore about these cheesecake is not only the flavor profile but the texture juxtaposition. It reminded me of an eclair in the sense that you’ll enjoy a top layer that cracks and yields to the creamy, luscious pumpkin cheesecake — only to be balanced by a chocolate, coffee-infused base.
End result? BANANAS.COM.
INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Organic Valley, with considerable modifications
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1⁄2 cups finely crushed graham crackers + 1 tbsp Dutch-Process cocoa
2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup coconut palm sugar
5 large eggs
1 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, divided
1-2 tbsp almond milk
For the crust: Heat oven to 350°F. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter; combine with crushed grahams, cocoa and ground coffee. Press into bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8 minutes.
For the filling: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for 3 to 4 minutes. The consistency will shift to more of a frosting texture (picture tufts of white hair). If you’re like me and work an insane 12-hour workday and don’t have time (or simply forgot) to leave the cream cheese out, here’s a quick trick. Fill a bowl with very warm water and immerse the sealed packages of cream cheese for 5 minutes. The cream cheese will soften without melting. While your cheese is beating, melt 4 ounces of chocolate in a double-broiler and set aside to cool.
After four minutes, gradually beat in sugar and continue beating 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in pumpkin, cooled chocolate and vanilla.
For the cheesecake: Pour filling into crust. Immerse the springform pan in a water bath (essentially this is a roasting pan filled with 2 inches of lukewarm water. This will allow the cheesecake to cook evenly and maintain the integrity of its texture). Bake until instant thermometer inserted in center reads 160 degrees, 70 to 75 minutes. Cool cheesecake to room temperature, add the glaze, and then chill it thoroughly. I left it in the refrigerator overnight, but typically cheesecakes set after five hours.
For the glaze: Melt chocolate and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in double boiler, or a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Remove from heat; whisk lightly, then whisk in almond milk to thin the mixture, if needed. Cool 10 minutes. Press top of cheesecake to even out the surface and “mend” any cracks. Spread chocolate glaze over cheesecake. Chill to set topping.