A can of pumpkin puree, cinammon, dried apple rings and some windfall nuts from Jean's holiday home in France. I was particularly excited about the nuts - walnuts and hazelnuts.
I was anxious to avoid the obvious pumpkin pie, and the other option that sprang to mind was a pumpkin tealoaf, which on reflection might not have been a bad idea, but last Sunday, we had guests for lunch and I was thinking dessert.
Something stirred in the back of my mind. Was I mistaken, or had I read a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake somewhere? A quick rifle through my ever increasing collection of cookery books confirmed that I wasn't going mad - Nigella (of course) includes this delight in Feast. It's in the Christmas/Thanksgiving section.
Granted, it didn't present an obvious opportunity for the nuts and apple, but I solved the nuts problem by including them with the digestive biscuits, cinammon and butter specified, to make the base. I had a slight hitch because the battery in my scales was limping along, and the scales weren't weighing accurately... The Husband diligently cracked the nuts for me and my intention was to replace 50g of the biscuits with the nuts bringing the weight back to the 250g required by the recipe. I ended up with more like 300g of biscuits and nuts combined, but no matter.
After pressing the base mix into a spring form tin, you get to fiddle around a lot with clingfilm and silver foil to make the outside of the tin watertight, before getting on with the cheesecake mix. You have to make the tin watertight because you bake the cake in a water bath. At this point, I had a minor panic that I didn't have a roasting tin big enough to accommodate the 23cm tin, but the turkey roasting tin came to my rescue.
The cheese cake mix then, is the pumpkin puree, cream cheese, some sugar and lemon juice. I was totally seduced by the goddess's assertion that I would end up with "...a delicate, rich, palest apricot pudding", so didn't see the need to change it. She's not wrong.
The cooking time in the book was 1 3/4 hours. It took a little longer, and I needed to pop some foil over the top to stop it colouring too much - and then the foil caught on the top and took a little bit of the surface of the cheesecake off, but there we go
And to be honest, once you've cut into the cheesecake, a little blemish on the top is not really going to matter that much.
The nuts added an extra flavour to the base which I enjoyed - the filling is pretty mild and it was good to have the added interest in the base. If I was going to make the whole thing again - and it's not unlikely - I'd probably reduce the amount of cheesecake mix, as it was quite muckle, and required thin slices only. There was loads leftover, sitting in the fridge, and I can confirm that it goes as well with a cup of tea as it does as a pudding following beef and brown ale casserole, so a worthy use of the lovely ingredients that Jean sent me. You'll have noticed, of course, that the apple rings haven't featured in this post. I have a plan for them, but I'm going to make that the subject of a separate post. Watch this space.
Jean's blog is here . I'm hoping that she's enjoyed using the ingredients I sent her, and I'm also looking forward to seeing what the other participants received, and what they cooked up.