Saturday, January 1, 2011

Olive Garden Pumpkin Cheesecake

I got this recipe off of and had to give it a try for Christmas. It was Yummo!! This recipe takes a little time and preparation (see the filling preparation and remove the excess water from the pumpkin puree about 1 hour ahead of making the cheesecake) , but well worth the effort. It's a combination of pumpkin pie and cheesecake! Perfect for the holidays, or any day for dessert if you are a die hard cheesecake fan like me. I changed a couple of things with the recipe though, which I will post in my recipe below, go to the website if you want the original. I changed the sugar to 1 cup, I thought it just needed a bit more sweetness, most cheese cake recipes have over a cup of sugar, so I thought upping the amount to 1 cup wasn't too bad. I also cut back to 1 pint of heavy cream but used the amount of sugar called for in the whipped cream layer and added a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Turned out beautiful and delicious!

Olive Garden Pumpkin Cheesecake

Yield: 10 – 12 slices.
Use an 8 or 9-inch spring-form pan
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup ginger snap cookies, crumbs (I crumbled mine in my food processor, a bit noisy, so cover your ears!)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons melted butter

Cheesecake Filling:
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Sour Cream Layer:
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg **freshly ground if available

Whipped Cream:
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Dash or two of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

Additional toppings:
Caramel sauce
gingersnap crumbs

Crust preparation:
In a medium sized bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, ginger snap crumbs, sugar, and butter, mix well. Press crust into a springform pan. Press the crust about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Refrigerate crust while you continue to prepare the cheesecake.
Filling preparation:
Allow extra time for mixing up this filling. Remove the pure pumpkin puree from the can and place into a couple of large paper towels. Wrap the pumpkin puree with the paper towels, this will soak the excess water in the pumpkin puree. Continue to remove excess water from the pumpkin puree for about 60 minutes before making cheesecake mixture. Bring the remaining ingredients for the filling to room temperature while the pumpkin puree is having the water removed. With a mixer beat cream cheese until smooth, and add eggs one at a time, and then combine all ingredients for the filling in a mixer. Blend until very smooth. For best results allow all ingredients to reach room temperature before mixing the filling. Remove crust from refrigerator, and pour in filling.

Bake cheesecake at 350 for 30 minutes, and then reduce temperature to 325 degrees for an additional 30 minutes. When you remove the cheesecake it should be slightly jiggly in the center, the cheesecake will set up nicely as it cools.

Sour Cream Layer:
When you remove the cheesecake from the oven set aside, and begin to prepare the seasoned cream cheese layer. In a small bowl combine sour cream, sugar, and spices. Blend well. Spread seasoned sour cream mixture over the baked cheesecake evenly. Place the cheesecake back into the 325 degree oven for about 8 minutes to the sour cream layer will set.

Whipped Cream:
Now allow the cheesecake to cool, when the cheesecake is completely cool, you can add the whipped cream. In a medium sized bowl combine 1 pint heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and sugar, and a dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, mix well with a blender or a stand mixer. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Remove ring from the spring-form pan, and either pipe the whipped cream over the pumpkin cheesecake or spread with a knife. ( I drizzled mine with the carmel sauce , then piped the whipped cream on, and sprinkled with gingersnap cookie crumbs)  Then I sliced and served, and had carmel sauce on the table for additional drizzling as desired.

Additional notes about cheesecake making:
 You may wish to use a waterbath when you prepare your cheesecake. To do this have a roasting pan filled 1/4 full of water (Be sure the pan is big enough for your spring form pan, and that you only fill with enough water to come half way up the spring form pan) ALSO!!! Put a sheet of aluminum foil under the spring form pan and fold up the sides. You DON'T  want the water to seep into the cheesecake. ) A water bath just helps your cheesecake to bake without cracking. You don't have to do this step if you don't want to. I preheat the roasting pan filled with water when I preheat the oven. Then set my prepared cheesecake that has aluminum foil under it into the water bath when ready to bake.

Also, I would really urge you to try to let your ingredients reach room temperature before blending together the filling. This really makes a difference in getting a nice and smooth filling.

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