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Pumpkin Apple Cheesecake

12
1 Hour 40 minutes
45 minutes
Recipe developed for BC Egg by Diversivore

A delicious, velvety, creamy autumn cheesecake made with pumpkin, apple, and fall spices, all topped off with a rich apple caramel sauce. Use the easy and tasty gluten-free oat crust, or substitute a graham cracker crust if you like!

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1.5 cups rolled oats or oat flour (see note)
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Filling

  • 15 oz pumpkin or squash puree (see note for canned vs. fresh)
  • 2 medium apples or unsweetened apple sauce (see note)
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 16 oz ricotta
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (see note on sweetness)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cloves crushed/ground (1/4 tsp)

Apple Caramel Sauce

  • 1 medium apple peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces butter (3/4 of a stick)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
  2. Line the bottom of a 10 inch (25 cm) springform pan (see note for other options) with parchment paper, or grease with a bit of butter.
  3. Place the oats and salt in food processor and pulse until most of the oats are broken down into small crumbs.
  4. Thoroughly combine the oats with the brown sugar and melted butter.
  5. Press the oat mixture into the bottom of the pan, and level the surface out with a spatula or other flat surface. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Filling

  1. For best results, let your eggs, cream cheese, and ricotta warm to room temperature.
  2. To make your own applesauce, first peel, core, and chop the apples. Cook them over low heat in a small covered pot with a few tablespoons of water until soft (you may need a little more or less water depending on the type of apple you use). Mash or blend the cooked apples to make a sauce. Set aside 1 cup of the resulting mixture and allow it to cool. Alternatively, you can use a prepared unsweetened applesauce.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and boil a large kettle or pot of water.
  4. Line the inner walls of the pan with long strips of parchment paper. You can grease the surface with butter instead, but parchment paper is much more foolproof.
  5. Combine the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, ricotta, and sugar in a stand mixer equipped with a paddle, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Combine at moderate speed, taking care not to whip too much air into the mixture.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, pausing to allow them to combine well. Add 1 cup of applesauce and the spices, and mix until well combined.
  7. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in aluminum foil to create a relatively tight seal. Place the foil-wrapped pan into the center of a roasting pan or other large oven safe dish with high sides.
  8. Pour the filling into the crust carefully. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to submerge the foil-wrapped cake pan to about the half-way point. Bake at 350°F for about 90 minutes, or until just barely set in the center.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and from the hot-water bath. Set aside to cool, then cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Apple Caramel Sauce

  1. Combine sugar and water in a medium pot over high heat. Stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar (this will become much easier as it heats up).
  2. Cook the dissolved sugar until it starts to turn a pale yellow colour. Continue to cook the sugar for a few more seconds, until it turns a rich yellowish brown (this will happen very quickly, so don’t take your eyes off the pot). Once it reaches this point, immediately add the butter and whisk thoroughly to combine (it will spatter fairly violently, so watch your hands).
  3. Bring the caramel back to a boil, whisking regularly. Add the cream a little at a time while whisking vigorously. Once the cream is incorporated, add the salt and cut apple pieces and remove the caramel from heat. The caramel will be quite hot at this stage, and this residual heat will lightly cook the apples.
  4. Set aside to cool. The caramel can be served slightly warm, or chilled. The former will be thinner and clearer while the latter will be thicker and more opaque. This sauce can be made several days in advance, if desired.

Notes

Canned vs Fresh Pumpkin/Squash – This recipe was developed with red kuri squash, which is a great squash variety that happens to work very nicely in sweet and savoury ‘pumpkin’ dishes. Pie pumpkin, butternut squash, or kabocha squash would all work very well too. You can make pumpkin puree by pressure cooking halved pumpkin/squash and blending it with a very small amount of water. You can substitute canned pumpkin puree 1:1 here too, though the flavour is sometimes a little milder.

Apple Varieties & Apple Sauce – A wonderful early fall apple called Ginger Gold is great in this dessert. It’s got a tangy sweet/acid profile and spice-like flavours that work very well in pies. It also cooks quite nicely and becomes fairly soft, yet still holds its shape somewhat. Any apple that’s good for cooking or sauce making will work nicely too. If you don’t have good apples you want to use or you’re pressed for time, simply use a good quality unsweetened applesauce in the cake filling.

Rolled Oats vs. Oat Flour – If you don’t have a food processor or blender for the rolled oats, you can substitute oat flour. The resulting crumb will be finer, but should cook and taste very much the same.

Baking Pan Options – A springform pan or cake pan with a removable bottom (preferred) will make this recipe much easier, but it can also be made in a large, deep pie dish. Note that you may need to make more of the oat crust in order to extend the crust up the sides of the pie dish, so consider using about 25% more at that stage.

Hot water bath method – Cooking a cheesecake in a hot water bath is ideal, as it allows the cake to cook slowly and evenly.  This gives you a great, creamy, uniform texture and helps avoid cracks.

Sweetness Note – By design, the basic cheesecake filling is not very sweet. This is because the apple caramel adds quite a bit of sweetness, and avoids making the cheesecake overwhelmingly sugary. If you plan to make the cake without the added caramel sauce, it’s recommended to increase the amount of sugar in the cake to a total of between 3/4 and 1 cup.

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