Monday, November 30, 2009

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ghee, Glorious Ghee!

Ghee is one of my most favorite things in the world. Everything is made better with ghee.

Ghee turns plain white rice into a delicacy. A fresh baked, hot off the griddle chapati with a slight dousing of ghee-it just doesn't get any tastier. How do I know so much about ghee you may wonder? I was introduced to this food of the gods by a friend who is Gujarati. And let me say, Gujarati homecooks know the secrets of ghee better than any cook anywhere. The most maddening thing is she never ever read or wrote recipes, having learned ancient dishes passed down through generations.

Even so, I did not know Ghee had a French cousin, Buerre Noisette. It was fun taking ghee to the edge and going one step further, making Buerre Noisette for this week's Heavenly Cake bake through, Rose's Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake. I personally have never met a cheesecake I didn't like, unless it was an imposter cheesecake. You know the kind, listed on a restaurant menu disguising itself and fooling no one.

The Buerre Noisett definitely added an extra depth of flavor to the gingersnap crumb mixture. It took quite a bit of restraint not to roll the cream cheese in the aromatic crumbs, dub them truffles and call it a day.

The only bit of difficulty I had was making the cookie crumb mixture stick to the side of the springform pan. Chilled for a few minutes, I resorted to using a spoon with better luck. I think the warmth of my hand wrapped in plastic caused the Buerre Noisett to slightly melt.

Making the batter was a kick. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking the pumpkin and sugar together, watching it thicken. I passed the time stirring by reading the inside of the cream cheese package. I expected to find a recipe but instead found, and I kid you not, The Cheesecake Cheat Sheet! It listed all sorts of tips to avoid cheesecake catastrophies. I had to laugh because it's usually at this point in the middle of baking that I start lamenting the fact I do not have a direct pipeline to Rose for H-E-L-P.

I have a mini Cuisinart food processor which presented a bit of a challenge. Well, actually I wasn't supposed to know I'm getting the grown up version for Christmas. About to grab Macy's coupons and head off to battle the sale crowds, my lovely daughter had to fess up that she already ordered the one I brazenly listed on my Christmas wish list and it was hidden in her office. Exasperated, she offered to fetch it for the greater good of the cheesecake. It was tempting.

I didn't quite know how to mix the pumpkin, cream, cream cheese and eggs together since there was no way the mini could hold everything without exploding. I divided the amounts in half, pulsed the ingredients, added the eggs to a small portion, then gently whisked it back together. The light, fluffly texture amazed me. At that point I didn't care if it turned out to be less than a stellar presentation. I knew Rose had a hit recipe and all I had to do was get it baked without drenching it in the water bath.

To be on the safe side I double wrapped and then double double wrapped again the springform pan in foil, cursing myself for not braving the post holiday shopping traffic jams to pick up a silicone cake pan. When it came out of the oven, I truly was astonished to not see any cracks whatsoever, and even more so, to find the water didn't seep through the foil. Pulling off the foil layers was more like opening up a batch of crazy Jiffy Pop Popcorn than an elegant cheesecake.

It took me two tries to get the caramel topping to turn out. The first batch didn't set hard enough but boy is it ever tasty! The second try came out well, then I spoiled it by stirring the vanilla a little too much. I saw the texture change and cystalize slightly.

My cheesecake needs to set for another twelve hours. We took pictures and tasted one cut slice so I could post. It's a unanimous winner. The texture is so silken I'm afraid we will forever be spoiled with mere mortal cheesecakes.


Aromatic crust encased in its aluminum spacesuit.

Batter bursting out of little mini Cuisinart

Whisking the two batches together

Ready for the dreaded waterbath

Safely emerged from the waterbath. Phew!

Il est délicieux, cette beauté à la citrouille avec buerre noisette.

Study in willpower putting this back into the


  1. Adorable and such an entertaining read! I had to laugh out loud when I read how it took you "quite a bit of restraint not to roll the cream cheese in the aromatic crumbs, dub them truffles and call it a day". Very funny!


  2. Great post as always Vicki! :) I'm surprised you like Ghee! I find Ghee has an overpowering smell compared to shortening, way too strong for my liking. But sometimes for some local cookies, we need to use Ghee so no choice but to use..

  3. looks great vicki! I love the shot of your almost overflowing mini food processor! lol

  4. Very funny post, Vicki. And lovely cheesecake too. I loved it!

    If you read my blog, you'll see that I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to make the batter (my food processor only holds 7 cups). I beat the cream cheese first, then added the whole eggs + yolks, then the combine pumpkin/sugar/cream mixture.

    Btw, we have the same blog background :o)

  5. Looks great! And I'm glad someone tried the buerre noisette--I just couldn't convince myself to try making it, especially with all the other T'giving cooking going on. Maybe next time...

  6. You crack me up. I love the photo of the overwhelmed food processor. And how exciting that you are getting a bigger one for Xmas. I was so ridiculously excited when I got *another* Magimix for last years birthday.

    Oh, btw, did you make the beurre noisette with Ghee as your starting point? I have canned ghee and was hoping to use it to shortcut the process a little...

  7. I started with unsalted butter. It actually is remarkable that ghee is one of the very few things I can make in my short cooking list. Plus, I wasn't taking any chances with Rose's cheesecake after this alarming news alert!
    Large amount of fake ghee seized in Gwalior
    September 22nd, 2009 - 8:47 pm ICT by ANI -
    Gwalior, Sep. 22 (ANI): Madhya Pradesh authorities have seized large quantities of fake ghee in Gwalior.

    Acting on a tip-off, officials from the state administration raided the two dairies producing clarified butter. Samples have been collected for testing.

    “A large amount of fake clarified butter was found abandoned along with some constituents, which is used to make fake oil. We seized them immediately. As we haven’t received any claimants, we are not proceeding with the investigations,” said Ved Prakash, Additional Collector, Gwalior.

    “Yesterday, the clarified butter samples from the Chambal Diary were sent to the labs for tests. Investigations would be done once the report comes,” he added.

    Almost 100 tins of vegetable oil and 600 tins of clarified butter worth 2 lakh rupees were seized.

    The tins of clarified butter had the labels and packaging materials with brand names of companies producing ghee.

    No arrests have been made so far. (ANI)

    Read more:

  8. So funny! I do not think I would have had the courage to undertake this task in the mini-cuisinart. I congratulate you. I did not make the beurre noisette although I knew it would add wondrous flavor to the crust. I always remind myself to make a triple batch to have on hand, but forget to do it. Next time I make this cheesecake, I will do that for sure. Good job. joan

  9. Love your tales of your baking experiences. I got lazy and didn't do the beurre noisette and now wish I did after hearing about yours. Great job on your cheesecake.