Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Oranges
I made this Pumpkin Cheesecake completely for you guys!!! I wanted for you to have this amazing recipe ready in your pocket for the holiday season that just started. Because I know us, we like to think in advance about all the amazing dishes, cocktails and decorations we will be creating for all our holiday parties, even when we’ll be leaving most until the last minute and barely make some of the dishes that we thought for our imaginary but still fabulous holiday dinner party.
How many imaginary dinner parties have you made? Were you the perfect host? Oh darling, I’m sure you absolutely were!
But coming back to planet Earth, the reality is that we always squeeze some time to create at least one wonderful holiday gathering or attend at least one of them. Enter here the need of a beautiful dessert recipe that everyone will love!
This pumpkin cheesecake is light and floral thanks to the addition of fresh grated ginger. It’s has always been a hit around here and I’m sure it’s going to be one on your home. You need to make it in advance though, but trust me, it tastes even better two days after being baked. That’s one of the magical powers of cheesecake!
1. The best way to turn out a cheesecake, if using a springform pan, is like a cake and using plastic paper, but it has to be done after the 8 hours of chilling in the fridge. First, heat some water in a cup and place a small and thin pairing knife inside to warm it up. Using that knife, carefully scrap between the cheesecake and the ring of the pan to separate them, wiping out the knife a couple of times so the crumbs and cheese on the knife don’t break the cake. Take out the ring. Put a piece of plastic paper on top and then an upside down plate on top of it. Carefully turn it over. Look for any hollow between the crust and the metal and using a small knife or spoon try to push up the base of the pan. Keep loosing the base until you find a good spot to push up the base completely. Place the serving plate on top of the crust and turn it again. Very carefully remove the plastic paper.
2. To make the caramel sauce I used both raw and dark brown sugar to add that smoky hint of molasses to the sauce. If you don't have brown sugar on hand just use your regular raw sugar for a total of 1 ½ cup.
3. The candied oranges are completely optional but not only do they look fantastic on top of the cheesecake, they are super fun to eat.
Pumpkin Cheescake with Candied Oranges
Traditional graham crackers – 8 oz (15 whole rectangular cookies), broken in small pieces
Unsalted butter – 8 TBSP (1 stick)
Ground cinnamon (optional) – ½ Teaspoon
Fine sea salt – ¼ Tsp
Cream cheese, at room temperature – 4 ½ boxes of 8 oz
Raw sugar – 1¾ cup
Pumpkin purée – 1 ½ - 15 oz can
Unbleached all purpose flour – 7 TBSP
Lemon juice – 1 TBSP, about the juice of 1 medium lemon
Fresh grated ginger (optional) – 2 TBSP
Pure vanilla extract – ½ Tsp
Fine sea salt – ¼ Tsp
Eggs – 5, large
Egg yolks – 2, from large eggs
Raw sugar – 1 cup
Dark brown sugar (see notes) – ½ cup
Water – ¼ cup
Orange zest – 1 TBSP
Freshly squeezed orange juice – ¾ cup
Mandarin oranges – 3 to 4
Water – 2 cups
Raw sugar – 2 cups + extra to sprinkle on top (if desired)
Total time – 1 ½ hours plus chilling time
Prep time Cheesecake – 30 minutes Baking time – 1 hour and 11 minutes
Prep time Candied Oranges and Caramel Sauce – 30 minutes
Equipment – pie dish or springform pan, stand or electric hand mixer, baking sheet
To make the Crust: Preheat oven to 350°.
If using a springform pan, spray the bottom with cooking or baking spray.
In a small saucepan heat the butter with the cinnamon until the butter is melted. Retire form heat.
Place the cookie pieces with the salt in the bowl of a food processor already attached to the base. Pulse 2 times to integrate everything and make the crumbs smaller. Start running the food processor again and pour in the melted butter, just until the crumbs are very fine and compact, about 10 to 15 seconds. If there are still big crumbs of crackers, integrate the crumbs stuck to the wall of the bowl and pulse a couple of seconds more. The crumbs will appear dry but they are ok. Transfer the content to the pie dish or the baking pan you will be using. Press onto the bottom and up to the sides, until the crumbs are evenly distributed and you have reached the edges of the pan with them. You may use a bottom flat small measuring cup or utensil to help yourself press down and distribute the crumbs. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the crust has browned and feels firm to the touch. Place it in the fridge to cool down.
To make the Pumpkin Filling: Increase oven temperature to 525° and preheat.
Either in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat together in low speed the cream cheese and the sugar for about a minute to break any lumps in the cream cheese. Incorporate the pumpkin purée, flour, lemon juice, ginger, vanilla and salt. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes until everything is well incorporated. If needed, stop the mixer to scrap down any mixture stuck through the wall of the mixer bowl and then continue mixing. Start adding the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time. Again, scrap the wall of the bowl between additions, if needed. Stop beating as soon as the last yolk is incorporated.
Place baking pan in a baking sheet. Pour filling into it. Place the baking sheet with the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Fill the baking sheet with water almost to the top. Close oven door and bake for 11 to 12 minutes, until a bit puffed and settled. (Check it out around the first 10 minutes, if it seems burned or you see any big crack, turn down the oven temperature at that moment.) After that, turn down the oven to 200° and bake for 1 hour more, until the cheesecake is firm but the center is slightly wobbly if pan is shaken a bit.
Turn oven off and let the cheesecake there with the door halfway open for a couple of minutes, then take it out and let it cool down completely. Loosely cover the cheesecake with plastic paper and place it in the fridge. Chill for at least 8 hours or ideally overnight. Remove from pan (see notes), if using a springform and prepare for serving.
To make the Caramel Sauce: In a medium saucepan combine all the ingredients except for the orange juice. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. After this point do not stir anymore to prevent crystallization. Cook for 15 minutes more. Remove from heat and add the orange juice. Return the pan to the burner and cook in medium-high heat for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let it cool down before pouring over the cheesecake.
You can do the sauce in advance and store it in the fridge. Bring down to room temperature before serving.
To make the Candied Oranges: Wash the oranges and slice them in approximately ⅛”slices.
Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
In large skillet pour the water and add the sugar. Heat to medium stirring constantly just until the sugar has dissolved. After this point stop stirring to prevent crystallization of the sugar. Bring to a gentle boil and immerse the orange slices. Bring the heat down to medium-low and boil for 15 minutes. Flip over the oranges and cook for 15 minutes more, until the rinds seems translucent and the edges are starting to look a bit burned.
Using a fork remove each slice and place on the wire rack. Repeat with all the slices. If desired, sprinkle with extra sugar. Let them cool completely before removing from rack.
You may prepare them in advance and store the candied orange slices in the fridge until ready to use.