Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Struesel topped pumpkin cheesecakes

I got this recipe from Our Best Bites. Thank you, Sara and Kate! I am going to first post their version of the recipe, followed by the many things I learned in the process of making 5 batches of these. It wasn't the best week for cooking at my house : P.

Crumb Crust
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. uncooked regular oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
3/4 c. butter, melted

Combine flour, sugar, oats, salt, and nuts in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and combine with hands until mixture is coarse and crumbly.

For mini tarts, drop a generous teaspoon of mixture into each hole; for cupcake-sized tarts, line a tin with foil cupcake liners and drop a generous tablespoon into each liner. Press down.

Use leftover mixture to sprinkle on tarts before baking.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling
1 small can pumpkin
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese (light works great), softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine pumpkin, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and seasoning and mix completely. Spoon into prepared crust (1 Tbsp. for minis, 2 generous Tbsp. for regulars) and sprinkle with reserved topping.

Bake at 350; for mini tarts, bake for about 15 minutes. For the regular tarts, bake closer to 20. If you'd like the crumb topping a little darker, you can turn the broiler on for a few minutes, but you have to keep a close eye on them because they will literally burn in a few seconds.
Allow to cool completely and then refrigerate for at LEAST 24 hours. Run a knife around the edge of each tart to loosen and then gently pop out with the knife. Serve with sweetened whipped cream if desired. Makes 12 regulars and 24 minis or 2 pans of each.


OK, now here's what I found in making these.
First, the crust recipe makes a TON! I felt like I was quite generous in the crust and in the topping portions, and still had nearly a cup left over each time. Just realize that, and come up with another snazzy use for it if you don't cut the recipe down. I think it'd make a great instant apple crisp topping. I also got far more yield out of the minis than the original recipe states. I don't recall the exact number, just that it was more than one pan.
Second, don't overbeat the filling. We made one batch in which we whipped it until it was quite fluffy. Those cheesecakes didn't cook evenly and wound up on the dry side once they were cooked.
Third, don't overbake. I still have some overdone ones in my fridge. It kills the flavor, texture and makes ugly sides. Just be patient and let them cool adequately, and they WILL come out of the pan. I discovered that my dark non-stick pans browned the sides far more quickly than the shiny pan.
Fourth, on my very last batch (of course) I decided to try paper liners for the minis. I like doing the large ones with foil liners, but couldn't find mini foil liners. I was afraid the filling would stick too much to the paper, but guess what? They were absolutely fine. I could have saved myself a whole heckuva lot of hassle trying to et 6 dozen out of the pans intact if I would have just used paper liners for the whole mess of them.

Anyway, they were fun, delicious and worth the fuss once I figured things out. Definitely serve them with whipped cream.

No comments: