I truly miss the days of dressing in costume and excitedly knocking on each neighbourhood door, barely able to contain my yells of “Trick-or-Treat!” long enough for the door to be answered. My brother and I didn’t carry around those cute little plastic pumpkin buckets, oh no, those were for amateurs! Instead we opted for pillowcases, large and deep, perfect for us seasoned pros! Door after door, the pillowcase would grow heavier, yet there would be plenty more room for candy. By the end of the night we’d make our way home, cases slung over shoulders, running our candy inventory through our minds. Once home, we’d dump out our bags for the necessary parental inspection. You see, these were the days when parents were finding razor blades in Candied Apples and poison in unwrapped candies. Anything homemade or unwrapped went straight to the trash. What a shame it is that some twisted individuals ruined the delights of homemade treats for all.
Well I’m too old now for trick-or-treating, so I decided to console myself with a grown-up treat. Can you think of anything better than a decadent Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake on Halloween? This is the kind of homemade goodness that you won’t find in your pillowcase at the end of the night! Needless to say, pumpkin, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon are a match made in heaven. Throw in some bourbon, tangy cream cheese and a buttery pecan crust and you’ll forget all about the trick and settle in for the treat.
Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake – from Epicurious.com
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
- 1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 oz), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tbs heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbs bourbon (optional)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbs cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups sour cream (20 oz)
- 2 tbs granulated sugar
- 1 tbs bourbon (optional)
Garnish: pecan halves
Make crust: Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.
Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.
Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.
Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.
Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.
Note: I actually forgot to add the ginger to the pumpkin batter (how could I?!) and so I added it to the sour cream topping. I actually think it worked out really well as it added a nice ginger kick that might have been lost otherwise.