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Pumpkin spice cheesecake: A different kind of pumpkin pie for Halloween

Here, we take advantage of the perfect combination of the gourd and spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg to produce the most autumnal cheesecake possible

Pasteles de otoño
Alfonso D. Martín

If cheesecake in itself is already a conceptual cliché that you can find on the dessert menu of all kinds of restaurants — to the point that it becomes tiring — this time we go further by combining it with another cliché, pumpkin spice. This spice blend is ideal for pumpkin and used in the United States for everything from cakes to hot beverages at large coffee chains. And yes, it’s the perfect time to make it, because it’s autumn and All Saints / Halloween / Day of the Dead / Castanyada / Magosto are just around the corner. The combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger give a comforting flavor and aroma, so let’s make a simple dessert that is suitable for everyone.

There are many ways to make a cheesecake, but it is advisable to use recipes with more body and longer cooking for spicy versions. For this one, we are looking for a good amount of creaminess, but a cake that still retains its shape. Adding pumpkin will enhance the cheesecake’s texture and sweetness, so do not overdo it with sugar. You can steam or roast the pumpkin until it is completely tender.

If it is easier for you, you can use cookies for the base, but using almond makes it suitable for people who cannot eat gluten. I like to add cardamom and sometimes a little star anise to the spice mix, but that is totally optional. It’s already great with just the basics.

Ingredients for the filling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250 g pumpkin, cooked and mashed
450 g cream cheese
175 ml whipping cream (minimum 35% fat)
100 g muscovado sugar (or white sugar)
40 g white sugar
35 g cornstarch
1.5 tablespoons pumpkin spice
Pinch of salt
Ingredients for the pumpkin spice (with some left over)
1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom (optional)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice (or black pepper)
Ingredients for the base
Pinch of salt
200 g almond flour
40 g white sugar
125 g melted butter
1.5 teaspoons pumpkin spice

Steps:

1. Prepare the pumpkin spice by mixing together all the spices on the list.

2. Prepare the cake base by melting the butter in the microwave or in a saucepan and mixing it with the almond flour, sugar, pumpkin spice and salt. Add the mixture to the base of the baking pan lined with parchment paper and press to level.

3. Bake the base in the oven (not preheated) at 160°C for 15 minutes; take it out and, when it has cooled down, put the base in the freezer for half an hour.

4. Prepare the cake mixture by beating the cream cheese and then adding the crushed pumpkin, cream, the two types of sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, pumpkin spice and salt.

5. Add the eggs one by one, beating until it is a homogeneous mixture.

6. Heat the oven to 170ºC, with heat from above and below.

7. Put the mixture on top of the base and hit a few times to eliminate bubbles. Bake for 45 minutes and, after that time, cook on grill mode for an additional five minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven with the door ajar for half an hour. Then refrigerate the cheesecake for at least another hour and it will be ready to serve.

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