T’is the season…

As a nod to all my American friends who celebrated Thanksgiving over the past weekend, I decided to make a very seasonal dessert for a dinner party on Saturday (that I didn’t end up attending… sigh… damn flu). Hope everyone reading in the US is recovered enough from their turkey day comas to enjoy this post!

I really wanted to try Simply Recipes’ Pumpkin Cheesecake, but when I woke up on Saturday morning with a throbbing headache, I decided that it was not the time to experiment with such a complicated recipe. I mean, when Elise says “Well frankly, it is a little complicated. You do need a springform pan, and you do need to cook the cake in a water bath“, you have to stop and wonder whether it’s the right recipe to use to make your first ever baked cheesecake… It’s been filed away for future use… (now that I have one under my belt, I feel Elise’s recipe would be totally fine – with a little time). Given I had all the ingredients on hand, I was confident that I could find something slightly user friendly on the Internet and All Recipes came through with this:

Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake


1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese,
3/4 cup white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed gingersnap cookies, pecans, and butter. Press into the bottom, and about 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake crust 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Set aside to cool.

I made sure there were some nice chunky pieces of pecans still left so as to make a nice textured crust.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture.

Blend 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the remaining mixture.

3. Spread the pumpkin flavored batter into the crust, and drop the plain batter by spoonfuls onto the top. Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect.

4. Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until filling is set. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Allow to cool before removing pan rim. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Ok, so I didn’t think it looked set enough after 50 minutes and left it in a couple of minutes longer and it started to crack!!! Noooooo! Taking it out of the oven, the cracking continued as it cooled:

But you have to admit it does look delicious:

Glad I left some chunky pecan pieces in there.

I ended up cutting it into squares for Neil to take to the dinner party to sort of hide the crack factor. I needed something special for the plating and presentation and decided to go with Simply Recipes caramel sauce.

Elise says: Before you begin, make sure you have everything ready to go – the cream and the butter next to the pan, ready to put in. Making caramel is a fast process that cannot wait for hunting around for ingredients. If you don’t work fast, the sugar will burn. Safety first – make sure there are no children under foot and you may want to wear oven mitts; the caramelized sugar will be much hotter than boiling water.


1 cup of sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


1. Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on.

2. As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.

3. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big.

(no photos here unfortunately – Elise is right that you have to work quickly!)

4. Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (Remember to use pot holders when handling the jar filled with hot caramel sauce.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving.

Oh yeah! This was a little bite of heaven – creamy cheesecake/ pumpkin and crunchy crust with the warmed caramel….. Will definitely be making this again – even the more complicated version and next time I will trust the recipe re: the baking time!

Pumpkin on Foodista

20 Responses to T’is the season…

  1. Lori Lynn November 30, 2009 at 10:34 #

    It looks fabulous Mardi. Sorry you were under the weather for Thanksgiving. Hope you are feeling better now.

  2. Kate at Serendipity November 30, 2009 at 11:28 #

    Wait! Are those my pecans? 🙂 Seriously, I hope you're feeling better too. This looks wonderful, but I'd have to swap out the pumpkin for chocolate or something–I think I'm the only American alive who really doesn't like pumpkin pastry. But maybe with that caramel over it…

  3. Simply Life November 30, 2009 at 13:22 #

    Wow I love the step-by-step photos…makes me drool ever more as I scroll down through the post! That seriously looks amazing!

  4. stephchows November 30, 2009 at 13:57 #

    cracked or not I'd eat it!! It looks amazing!! Hope you are feeling better!!!

  5. Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 30, 2009 at 14:07 #

    Oh this looks so good. Letting the cheesecake cool very slowly in the (turned off) oven will help prevent cracking, but really, it would take a lot more than a few wussy cracks to stop me from eating that!

    Get well soon chickadee xx

  6. Jessica November 30, 2009 at 14:29 #

    Looks so delicious!

  7. Tricia November 30, 2009 at 14:45 #

    Crack or no, this looks delicious! I believe in the individual character each baked good we make has–yours looks fantastic!

  8. Divina Pe November 30, 2009 at 14:56 #

    They're definitely to die for and it's not the same without the caramel sauce.

  9. 5 Star Foodie November 30, 2009 at 15:08 #

    That does look quite heavenly! Hope you are feeling better now!

  10. lululu November 30, 2009 at 15:09 #

    Your cheesecake looks superb! I've just made one very similar yesterday. Not marble though which I adore a lot.

  11. oldwaystable November 30, 2009 at 16:53 #

    Lookin' good! – Alison

  12. Palidor November 30, 2009 at 17:26 #

    That looked delicious before the caramel sauce… with the sauce it is absolutely sinful! I think caramel's the bomb – better than chocolate!

  13. Jaclyn & Jen November 30, 2009 at 20:04 #

    This looks amazing! Love the step by step directions and pics!

  14. Mr. P November 30, 2009 at 22:41 #

    How could you crush such cute biscuits?

    I say it's ok though – crimes committed in the name of cheesecake are not real crimes!

  15. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite December 1, 2009 at 01:17 #

    Lori Lynn – getting there though definitely not 100%

    Kate – umm, yes SOME of your pecans! I don't like pumpkin but this is very subtle.

    Simply Life – thanks

    Steph – thanks and yes, if it weren't for company I wouldn't care about the cracks!

    Conor – thanks for the tip! And yeah – BOO to wussy cracks!!

    Jessica – thanks!

    Tricia – thanks – I love it "individual character"!!!

    Divina – caramel makes it!

    5 Star – thanks!

    lululu – the marble is so pretty!

    Alison – thanks!

    Palidor – sinful indeed

    Jaclyn and Jen – thanks!

    Mr P – I know – I felt bad doing it but hey, in the name of the blog, right?

  16. The Best Family December 1, 2009 at 02:53 #

    mardi, this look so good! i'll have to remember this for next thanksgiving – our families would love it.

  17. penny aka jeroxie December 1, 2009 at 05:50 #

    Get well soon babe! And well done on this yummy cake. You need to relax and rest up!

  18. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite December 1, 2009 at 22:26 #

    Best Family – oh yes you would all LOVE this – even Mr Cheesecake King himself!

    Penny – I think I just need to eat more cheesecake!

  19. Neil C. Phillips December 14, 2009 at 13:36 #

    Waaaay too late to comment, but…

    As Mardi was sick, I took this solo to our dinner party, and can I just say it was indeed a hit. I had three (oink, oink) slices, and got to the point of eating just the sauce!

  20. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite December 14, 2009 at 13:53 #

    Neil – I am glad the guests liked it. My little piece I saved for myself that night was perfect too. And yes, I could just eat the sauce too.

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