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Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Serves 10 to 12

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 125

Chocolate and pumpkin make a dramatic and delicious pairing in this stunning cheesecake. Don’t skip the honey whipped cream accompaniment; its slight tang complements the deep chocolate and spiced pumpkin flavors.

For the crust
  • 5 oz. chocolate wafer cookies, such as Nabisco’s Famous
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 oz. (5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
  • 1 lb. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1-1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% to 70% cacao), finely chopped (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs.)
For the whipped cream
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
Make the crust

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, pulse the cookies and sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until evenly moistened. Using your fingers, press the crumb mixture into the base and partway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Use a flat-bottomed, straight-sided glass to further press and smooth the bottom and nudge the crumbs halfway up the sides.

Bake until firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Position the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and leave the oven on. When the pan is cool, wrap the bottom and sides with 2 overlapping 18-inch squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil and set in a large baking pan.

Fill and bake the cake

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Mix in the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla until smooth. Mix in the eggs, egg yolk, and 1-1/4 cups of the cream just until well combined. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 1/3 cup cream in a small saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil; remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth and then whisk in 1 cup of the pumpkin batter.

Pour the remaining pumpkin batter into the prepared crust. Drop 2-tablespoon dollops of the chocolate batter over the pumpkin batter. For the marbled look at right, work in one quadrant and use a wooden skewer or toothpick to continuously “write” capital cursive L’s, being careful not to go too deep and scrape the crust. Turn the pan to work in the next quadrant and continue swirling and turning until all quadrants are done. (For other patterns for swirled cakes, see "Marbling and Beyond.")

Pour 1 inch of boiling water into the baking pan. Bake until only the center of the cake jiggles when nudged, 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes. Turn the heat off but leave the cake in the oven with the door ajar for another 45 minutes.

Remove from the water bath and foil and run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the cake. Cool completely on a rack. Cover the pan with plastic wrap (without letting it touch the cake) and chill for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

Make the whipped cream and serve

Whip the heavy cream, sour cream, honey, and vanilla to medium-soft peaks.

Remove the side of the springform pan. Run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust and carefully slide the cheesecake onto a flat serving plate. Use a knife warmed in hot water and wiped dry to cut the cake, wiping it clean and reheating it after every slice. Serve with the whipped cream.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 540; Fat (g): fat g 42; Fat Calories (kcal): 370; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 24; Protein (g): protein g 6; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 38; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 240; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 170; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Kate Sears

This recipe turned out really well. After reading the comments, I added an extra half cup of pumpkin puree and only used half the chocolate drops on top, which really balanced out the flavors. Everyone really enjoyed it!

A very good cheesecake, not too rich and not too light. My only issue with it was that I didn't feel it was pumpkin-y enough; the chocolate seemed to overpower the pumpkin which was meant to be the star (I used Ghirardelli 60%). Another reviewer mentioned that there was a lot of chocolate, but you can still create the marbling if you pile the dollops higher and make sure you put space between. The chocolate will go deeper into the cake. Just make sure you don't get carried away with making your o's;).

Another excellent cheesecake recipe from FC! Perfect marriage of cheesecake (which I love) and pumpkin pie (which my husband loves)! However, I found there was too much chocolate batter to create a marbled effect. I dropped the chocolate batter by spoonfuls, but it ended up covering the entire pumpkin batter. Next time, I will try to alternate both batters near the end to achieve the marbled effect. This cheesecake also freezes well.

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