This is my second-ever Basque-style cheesecake. I'll tell you...it's the easiest stinkin' dessert to throw together and impress everyone. Yes, it's easier than a classic NY cheesecake because there is no crust. You are literally pouring batter into a parchment-lined springform pan...there is no water bath, no fuss, no nothin' because we want to burn this baby!! It's everything you're not supposed to do and then doing that at 400° for 65 minutes.
Pumpkin butter is my pumpkin pie secret weapon, use this base in replace of puree, nix the sugar. All you do is add the eggs and cream. Feel free to adjust any of the seasonings in the pumpkin butter -add in toasted ground pecans or walnuts. Even scrape a vanilla bean pod into it if you please. But there are two things (actually maybe three) I've learned when it comes to building flavor: salt in desserts no matter what, a touch of vanilla extract smooths everything out, and lemon juice adds a bit of brightness you didn't know was missing.
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (or ~2 cups fresh squash puree)
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/ 3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/ 2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/ 4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/ 4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/ 2 pounds (3 packages) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Pumpkin butter (above)
- 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- Fresh whipped cream, for serving
- Toasted or candied pumpkin seeds, for garnish
To make the pumpkin butter:
In a small pot combine pumpkin puree, molasses, sugars, salt, and spices. Cook on medium stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved, spices are aromatic, and begin to boil. Continue stirring until pumpkin butter is very thick and spreadable, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice. Set aside to cool completely.
To make the filling:
Preheat oven to 400° F degrees. Line a 10-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Using two sheets of parchment paper, carefully press one sheet into the bottom. Spray parchment. Take the other sheet and lay it across the short side. There should be about a 3-4 inch overhang. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and cornstarch on medium-low speed until completely smooth and no lumps remain. About 8 minutes.
Add the pumpkin butter and mix on medium speed until combined, making sure to scrape down the sides.
Reduce the mixer to low. Stream in the heavy cream followed by the eggs, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Once incorporated, run the mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds until the batter is thick, creamy, and smooth.
Use a large sieve to strain the filling into the prepared springform pan [this ensures maximum smoothness]. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 65 minutes. Cheesecake should look puffed and dark with crackly edges. The center should be slightly jiggly.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before refrigerating overnight. Once set, adorn the edges with whipped cream and toasted pumpkin seeds. Slice and serve chilled.