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No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

I wanted to make cheesecake. I had even bought a small springform pan so that we wouldn't have too much cake to eat for only 2 people. Problem was...when I started looking at cheesecake recipes, I felt intimidated. All these warnings about water from the water bath seeping into the pan. Tips on how to get a smooth surface so it doesn't crack. I hadn't ever used a springform pan either so it just seemed like too many things to figure out at once. But then I found this no-bake recipe.

I halved these recipes since my springform pan is smaller. We kept leftover sauce in the fridge and heated it up in the microwave to drizzle over pumpkin cheesecake and vanilla ice cream. The sauce was very easy to whip up. Main danger is leaving it on the heat too long and burning it.

Made some mistakes on the cheesecake but it still tasted great even if it doesn't look at all polished. I think maybe I didn't let it chill long enough or maybe I was supposed to butter the parchment paper. But when I removed the parchment paper, a lot of bits of cheesecake stuck to the parchment paper and the resulting cake looks a bit lumpy. But like I said, it was easy to make and tasted great so we'll be trying again. I still haven't attempted to make Real Cheesecake yet. So if you have any recipes to suggest to a beginner, let me know.

small photo of No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

Easy Refrigerator Pumpkin Cheesecake
from Whole Foods Market

Serves 8

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup pumpkin purée
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 (8-ounce) packages Neufchatel or cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use a long, thin rectangle of parchment paper or foil to line the inside edge of a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

  2. For the crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan and about 1/4-inch up the sides. Bake until golden brown and toasted, 7 to 8 minutes; set aside to let cool completely.

  3. For the filling: In a medium bowl, beat pumpkin purée, remaining softened butter, cream cheese, vanilla, nutmeg and salt with an electric mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to medium low and add sugar 1/4 cup at a time; beat until smooth. Transfer pumpkin mixture to prepared pan, spreading it out evenly over the crust.

  4. Cover and chill until set, about 6 hours, or overnight. Remove outer ring of pan. Cut into slices and serve.

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

slice of No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

Caramel Sauce
from SimplyRecipes

1 cup of sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  1. Get everything ready. Make sure you have the sugar, butter, and cream lined up next to your pan, ready to add. Be careful! Caramelizing sugar is really hot and hurts if you get it on your skin. You may wish to wear mitts.

  2. Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan with high sides. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on. Note that this recipe works best if you are using a thick-bottomed pan. If you find that you end up burning some of the sugar before the rest of it is melted, the next time you attempt it, add a half cup of water to the sugar at the beginning of the process, this will help the sugar to cook more evenly, though it will take longer as the water will need to evaporate before the sugar will caramelize.

  3. As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.

  4. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big.

  5. Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (Remember to use pot holders when handling the jar filled with hot caramel sauce.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving.

Makes a little over one cup of sauce.

close-up shot to see sauce

Original Recipes:
No-bake Pumpkin Cheesecake: http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/archives/4805
Caramel Sauce: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/caramel_sauce/

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I have a simple, excellent, contest-winning cheesecake recipe that involves baking but no water bath. Let me know if you want it.

Yes please! I feel a bit sheepish that I bought this pan to make cheesecake and then never made any any except for this No-bake one. (I have used the pan only 2 other times for different cakes.)

I've made this many times and it's alway a hit. I never use a springform pan myself, and it is a bit gooey, so I don't know how it would hold up. Make sure you use regular cream cheese, I think using low-fat makes it less solid.

Strawberry-Glazed Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) and 1 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 cup strawberries, mashed
For the Crust: In a bowl stir together graham cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix in melted butter and turn into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 10 minutes. Cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C).
For the Filling: Beat softened cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add 1 cup sugar; beating until fluffy. Add 2 grated lemon peel and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour into the shell and bake for 1 hour, or until the center is set. Cool then spread with the strawberry glaze. Chill for 3 hours.
For the Strawberry Glaze: Blend 1 cup sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in water and mashed strawberries. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Cool thoroughly before spreading over the cheesecake.
Makes 12 servings.

Thanks! I'll give a try some time. If you don't use a springform pan, how do you get your cake out of the pan? Or do you keep it in the pan and cut slices and serve directly from the cake pan? When you chill with the strawberry glaze, is it still in the pan at that point? Since strawberries are now out of season, do frozen strawberries work for this recipe?

I make real cheesecake and it never involves water baths. I wish I could find the recipe I had for turtle cheesecake...heavy and rich but SO YUMMY!
(You have to be a chocolate-caramel-pecan lover to like it, though)

*nod* to all of that. Especially the caramel pecan part!

I happened to see a recipe with pics on making a cheesecake a few days ago; they made a sort of bowl out of tin foil, set the foil bowl on the pan holding the water, and set the cake pan in the foil bowl. I thought it was a pretty nifty idea.

Course, maybe that is how they are always done-what do I know? ;)

This looks DELICIOUS. I have a friend who makes artisan cheese cakes. I've never tried to make one you bake. It's scary hahaha

Cheesecake is OK if it cracks. There are often toppings you can put on them to cover a crack. I have a recipe for an almond sour cream cheese cake that is fabulous! It's in the New Basics cookbook.

Sometimes mine cracks, sometimes it doesn't. It's sliced to serve anyway, so who gives a hang, is my attitude.

Here's the one I usually use (I had to sift a page and a half of Google to find it):

Beat together with an electric mixer until smooth: 24 oz cream cheese, 4 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 c. sugar, 3 tb. lemon juice. Pour into prepared crumb crust and bake 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees. (The baking time really depends on the depth of the pan--I often make "cheesecakes" in mini pie tins for individual servings, for instance, which means you just have to test and see if the filling jiggles.

How large is your springform pan? And what kind of cheesecake do you like (super dense, medium dense, airy, flavored)? I can scale down any recipes I have. I love making 6-inch cheesecakes because I'm single.

ooh...My springform pan is about 6 inches in diameter too. I have to admit I don't really know the different types of cheesecakes. But when I asked my boyfriend, he answered "super dense, flavored" without any hesitation.

So is there a general rule for scaling down cheesecake recipes? Maybe an online converter?

Generally half a 9-inch recipe will fill a 6-inch pan fine, just start checking the cake earlier for signs of doneness. Here is a simple and relatively foolproof recipe for a very dense, rich, cheesy vanilla cheesecake with either a graham cracker or almond crust. The advantage of a nut crust is that it doesn't get soggy. The cornstarch keeps the batter from curdling if you overbake, which is a bigger risk when you don't use a water bath. Personally I prefer the dense velvety texture you get not using a water bath, so I try to avoid water baths. Another nice variation is a tablespoon of lemon juice and lots of lemon zest grated into the batter.

I also like recipes that incorporate sour cream to make it a bit lighter. There are all kinds of nice recipes. This one is a good starter.

3/4 cup almonds, lightly toasted
2 tbsp packed dark br. sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
Grind almonds and sugar until the almonds are finely chopped, leaving some attractive coarse bits. Mix in butter. Place pan on baking sheet (butter leaks). Butter sides of pan. Press almonds firmly against the bottom and 1/3rd up the side of the pan. Fill with cheesecake batter and proceed with cheesecake recipe.

1/2 cup crumbs (2 oz, 4 long, 8 squares) OR 7 Nabisco wafers
1/2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tbsp melted butter
Heat oven to 325. Combine crumbs and sugar, drizzle with butter and toss. Press crumbs into pan bottom and bake at least 8 min or until fragrant and just barely brown around edges. Cool.

===== REGULAR 6-INCH (not tall)
2 lb (2 boxes) cr cheese at room temperature
1/2 heaping cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch, mixed with sugar to break up lumps
1 egg
1/4 cup heavy cream (milk ok)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat oven to 500. Beat cheese until light and smoth. Beat in sugar/cornstarch and vanilla. Slowly beat in eggs then cream. Bake 5 minutes then drop temperature to 200 and bake 20-30 min until only very center jiggles. Turn off oven and leave for 20 min. Loosen cake from pan sides with knife, cool, then chill.

===== TALL 6-INCH (will reach top of pan) - Same as above but bake 30-40 minutes after dropping temperature
1.5 lbs (3 boxes) cr cheese at room temperature
3/4 heaping cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch, mixed with sugar to break up lumps
1 egg (medium egg ok)
1/3 cup heavy cream (milk ok)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Edited at 2010-11-23 02:39 am (UTC)

thank you! Is another bonus of the nut crust that you don't need to pre-bake it?

It is, although that's partly offset by the need to toast the nuts for flavor. People are often more partial to the flavor of graham crackers though.

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