This is one of those recipes that is kinda time consuming, makes a BIG mess in the kitchen and is far from even remotely being considered healthy. But, it’s worth it. And you probably know that already since you clicked on a link for a recipe that included the words ‘cheesecake’, ‘chocolate’ and ‘pralines’.
- Lightly spray a 9″ Springform Pan with Pam spray
- In a food processor grind the gingersnaps to a fine meal texture.
- Slowly add in the melted butter while pulsing. When finished the mixture should hold its shape when you move it around.
- Put the mixture into your Springform pan. Using your fingers spread the mixture to coat the bottom of the pan and press until it is firm and tightly packed down. Be sure that the crust mixture goes up the sides of pan as much as possible. I like to run my finger around the top edge of the sides at the end to be sure I have an even edge but that is just my OCD that kicks in.
Make the Ganache:
- Place the chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- In a saucepan carefully bring your Heavy Cream to a gentle simmer.
- Once the Cream comes to a light boil (be careful it doesn’t boil over!) remove it from the stove and pour immediately over the Chocolate Chips.
- Using a plate or a lid cover the bowl and let sit for 5minutes or so.
- When you are ready – remove the lid. Using a whisk gently stir the mixture until the cream and chocolate are fully combined. You should have a shiny, velvety gorgeous mixture that easily moves with the motion of the whisk but is not too stiff. This doesn’t take long and this is SOOO easy that you may want to just make Ganache all the time. Imagine the possibilities!
- Carefully spoon the Ganache over the Gingersnap crust and spread evenly.
- Set the pan in the fridge to set a little bit while you are making the Cheesecake filling.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling:
- Find yourself a baking pan that is larger in size than your Springform pan. Put about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of this baking dish and place in your preheated oven while you are making the filling.
- Place the Cream Cheese in the bowl of your favorite Stand Mixer. Using the whisk attachment beat the cream cheese until smooth. (Be sure to keep scraping down the sides with a spatula a few times).
- On Medium low speed add the remaining ingredients (Pumpkin Puree, Eggs, both Sugars, Flour, Pumpkin Pie Spice and Salt) ONE AT A TIME being careful that each ingredient is fully incorporated before adding the next one.
- Mix on MEDIUM speed for 2-3 minutes. It should have the consistency of a Smoothie and you should not see any remaining chunks of cream cheese.
- Remove your crust / pan from the fridge and carefully pour the filling mixture on top of the ganache. You want to do this slowly so that the filling doesn’t manipulate the Ganache and spreads evenly through the pan.
- You MAY have extra filling. You will want to be sure to leave about 1/3 of an inch at the top of the pan. You can do what you please with any leftover filling.. chuck it.. make mini cheesecakes.. whatever.
- Carefully wrap the bottom of your springform pan in TWO layers of Aluminum Foil and fold tightly up the sides of the pan but not over the top edge. This will insure that 1) water doesn’t seep in and 2) butter in the crust doesn’t seep out.
- Carefully… VERY CAREFULLY place the cheesecake (Springform pan) into your preheated water bath / baking dish. gently push the rack back and the pan into the rear of the oven and shut the door. Please ignore my spotted oven door… I can only do so much at a time here friends.
- Bake for approx. 1 hr 10 minutes or until there is a golden hue on the top of the Cheesecake and just a little jiggle. With any luck (and the reason for your water bath) the top of the cheesecake will not have cracked. However… if it has a little don’t worry! The Pecan Pralines or even Whipped Cream will cover that later.
- When done- remove the Springform pan from the water bath and set aside to cool.
- Let the cheesecake cool for about an hour or more. Then very carefully run a knife along the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the edges. Be careful to do this as smoothly as possible and as close tot he pan edge as possible.
- Gently wriggle the pan’s buckle open to be sure that the edges came away from the pan smoothly and then re-clamp closed.
- When cooled enough to place in the Fridge cover with plastic wrap and chill for 8 hours – over night. Ideally overnight is best.
- When ready to serve. Remove the cake from the fridge about an hour before serving. Carefully remove the outer ring of the Springform pan and place the cake on a cake plate or platter. I usually leave the pan base on to keep it level but (if you have let the cake chill over night) you can certainly run a thin spatula between the cake bottom and the pan base to free it up.
- Top the cheesecake with mounds of Maple Pecan Pralines, or alternatively you can keep it naked and serve with Whipped Cream on the side. For the record, it is definitely easier to cut if you do not top with nuts.