Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

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.

100 South Marion Street - Oak Park
Executive Chef/Partner Michael J. Pivoney

(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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