Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

September 12, 2008 6:07:43 AM PDT
Chef Pivoney, formerly was chef at the Signature Room - and last year joined Marion Street Cheese Market in downtown Oak Park, which late this summer expanded and opened a 48-seat cafe. He was last on the Sunday News over Memorial Day when he did a grilling segment. On Sunday, Chef Pivoney will make his new recipe for pumpkin cheesecake, which is being added to the menu this fall.

MARION STREET CHEESE MARKET
100 South Marion Street - Oak Park
Executive Chef/Partner Michael J. Pivoney
708-725-7200

(Yield: one 9-inch cheesecake, serves 10)

pumpkin puree (method and ingredients below)
4 ounces fresh chevre, softened
1 lb. cream cheese, softened (a farmers cheese may be substituted)
4 ounces mascarpone, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 whole eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. zest of orange
1/4 tsp. zest of lemon

To prepare the pumpkin puree: peel one fresh medium-sized pumpkin (x-x lbs.) and remove seeds. Cut into large pieces. Toss the pieces in a mixture of melted butter (1 Tbsp) and brown sugar (1 Tbsp) and place the pumpkin on a sheet pan. Roast in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes, until edges are browned. Let cool.

Transfer the roasted pumpkin (½- cup of canned pumpkin may be substituted) to a food processor or blender. Add spices (½ tsp. of cinnamon, ½ tsp. of nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. of cardamon) and puree until well-combined. Set aside.

In a large electric mixer bowl, combine the fresh chevre, cream cheese and sugar - creaming the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Add the eggs, one at a time, and slowly combine. Stir-in the vanilla and zests of orange and lemon. Finally, fold-in the mascarpone cheese.

Reserve one-third of the cheese mixture in a separate bowl and combine well with the pumpkin puree. Pour the remaining two-thirds of the cheese mixture over a graham cracker crust prepared in advance in a 9-inch spring form pan. Spoon dollops of the reserved cheese/pumpkin mixture over the top. With a butter knife gently inserted, stir the dollops in a swirling fashion throughout the mixture.

Bake the cheesecake in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until center holds firm when cake is shaken slightly.

Graham cracker crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup Amaretti cookies, crushed in food processor or with rolling pin
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Mix ingredients well and firmly press in baking pan.


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