Please, please don't roll your eyes. I know cheesecake isn't the most exciting or novel dessert, certainly not as exciting as a macaron or a Zumbo creation but allow me to plead my case. The first time I tried this was at my recent Halloween party where my guest Queen Viv, a fantastic cook, brought this cheesecake over. We were stuffed to the gills with all sorts of "horrific" foods yet someone piped up that there was a cheesecake in the kitchen and that they wanted to try a slice (ok that was me). And a few of us were cut small slender slices of this pale orange hued cheesecake and sank our teeth (or in the case of some, fangs) into this delicate and airily light cheesecake.
Soon after hearing our moans and requests for seconds, suddenly everyone else was getting a slice and enjoying it thoroughly. There was a hint of cinnamon and a touch of lemon to the pumpkin flavoured cheesecake which was not too pumpkiny but just right.
It is from Nigella's Feast, a book that I have fallen in love with all over again after disliking it for years as the first 7 items I tried from there were either average or a disaster. The only issue with this recipe is that it makes a little too much filling for the crust even with my modification (her original recipe calls for 750g of cream cheese!). Nigella says to push the crumbs onto the base of a 19cms diameter springform tin but I found that that way, the base was incredibly thick so I pushed the crumbs up to the side. You could either do the same as I did and then bake the remaining into cupcakes (I had an extra packet of biscuits so I just made more of the base) or bake it in a ramekin for a pot of pudding. Or you could bake it in a 23cms diameter springform and just press the crumbs into the base and that way you won't have any leftover. It all depends what you want and have in the cupboard really.
I cooked mine for the requisite time but found that was too long, I think after 1 hour 20 minutes check it to see whether it's done and you will get the correctly hued cheesecake shade. Don't let the water bath turn you off but if you just can't deal with it, you don't need to. Queen Viv's plate was too large to fit into a baking tray so she baked it as it was and it was perfectly light. And with the cheesecake itself, this light, dreamy confection, do I rest my case Your Honour.
250g packet of digestive biscuits
140g butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
425g can of pumpkin filling or fresh cooked pumpkin, well drained
500g cream cheese
200g caster sugar
Lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon
Step 1 - Line the base of a 19cms or 23cms diameter springform tin with baking paper (see note above)
Step 2 - In a food processor, blitz the biscuits and cinnamon until crumb like and then add in the butter until it resembles damp sand. Press into the base and sides of a 19cms springform tin or just the base of a 23cms springform tin. Place in fridge.
Step 3 - Wash and dry food processor and preheat oven to 160c. Put on a full kettle of water to boil. Process pumpkin and cream cheese together scraping down the sides of the processor when necessary (you may have to do this in two lots depending on how big your processor is). Add sugar and process and then crack each egg down the funnel and process until combined. Lastly add lemon zest.
Step 4 - Take out springform tin with biscuit base from the fridge. Wrap two layers of clingfilm around the base and sides to form a barrier to stop the water getting through the springform join. Then using two sheets of strong foil reinforce this.
Step 5 - In a deep baking dish sit the quadruple reinforced springform tin and pour the cheesecake filling onto the base. Lastly pour boiling water around the springform tin carefully avoiding the cake so that it is 1/3 or 1/2way filled up to the side with water. Bake for 1 hour and 20 or 30 (or even 40) minutes. Test with a skewer and once done, remove from the water bath and take off the foil (the clingfilm will have melted away).
Step 6 - Cool and then place in the fridge overnight. Don't taste it warm from the oven as this, like all cheesecakes, comes into its own when cold.
Adapted from _Feast _by Nigella Lawson
This is also my entry for Mansi's Fun n Food Vegetarian Thanksgiving event! :)