I have my complete menu for Thanksgiving dinner planned. I always make the same feast my mother made, but this year I want to spread my wings and have some fun with my Thanksgiving baking. I’ve really grown in my baking skills over the years but have always stuck with the same cheesecakes and pies for Turkey Day. Mom’s Chocolate Bottom Bourbon Pecan Pie (which is never to be changed in any way or I would just die) and her Pumpkin Swirl Cheese Cake are the standards.
While that cheesecake is great as is, I thought I’d tweak it just a bit this year. The original is a shorter spiced pumpkin cheesecake with regular cheesecake swirls. I’m making it a tall spiced pumpkin cheesecake with caramel cheesecake swirls. Using Litehouse’s Butterschotch Caramel Dip proves perfect for baking, as are any of their other Caramel Dips; it’s the perfect consistency for adding to batters. Not too thin, not too thick. It didn’t change the texture of my cheesecake one little bit, but it did add some whopping caramel flavor! Score one for this little baker.
Baking w Litehouse
Holiday baking should bring joy, relaxation, and memories of holidays passed. Unfortunately a lot of home cooks get really intimidated and stressed by baking for a crowd. I know I used to, especially when it comes to cheesecake. The cracking, the over baking, the under baking, crust issues, batter leaking out of the pan. There seem to be more things that can go wrong than can go right. Every website seems to have 15 “absolutely necessary” steps to prevent these problems. Each step comes with 4 more mind frazzling steps and in the end many head to the store and just buy the darn thing! That’s fine and dandy (sigh) I suppose. You won’t find a cheesecake like this Spiced Pumpkin and Caramel Swirl Cheesecake though, and if you do it is going to cost you a pretty penny. Why pay $40 for a gourmet cheesecake when you can make one for under $10?
Swirling the Batter
To ease your mind and make baking fun again, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve to insure the perfect cheesecake is pulled from the oven. I even have a few shortcuts that I have learned are perfectly safe!
- The dreaded water bath really is a must. Sorry. No need to go sloshing around a roasting pan of boiling water though, that is just dangerous! Simply fill your roasting pan halfway with hot tap water. Stick it in the oven as it preheats and it will be hot enough to do the job by the time your cake goes in the oven.
- I don’t prebake my crusts. The darn cheesecake will be in the oven for over an hour, you’re telling me I need to prebake it? No thanks. After pressing the crust to the pan stick it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. This will insure a perfectly shaped crust, even if you bump the pan while pouring in the batter.
- Let your eggs, cream cheese, and sour cream come to room temperature before making the cheesecake. Just let them sit on the counter for an hour, easy peasy.
- Do not over mix your batter. Sure beat the heck out of the cream cheese at first to get it smooth, but when it comes time to add the eggs slow it down Charlie Brown! Mix just until each egg is incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to gently complete the mixing.
- Do not cook the cheesecake longer than specified. I know, it still seems unset in the center. It is supposed to be like that. It will finish cooking and setting as it cools. You’ll see…
- If your cake does crack, it happens to the best, don’t fret. Slice up that cake before anyone sees it, or moan and groan loudly about how horrible your oven is. Christmas is right around the corner and you may just get a new one!
Perfect Cheesecake Slice
Get ready to wow the pumpkin pie and cheesecake lovers in your family this year. Be sure to hide yourself a great big slice in the back of the fridge, there will be no leftovers. Don’t say I didn’t warn ‘ya!