It’s getting to be a pretty busy time in the studio at the moment as we get closer to christmas I usually try and speed up production time to reduce the wait but unfortunately the 3-4 weeks seems here to stay. Outside it still feels like autumn even though apparently that’s set to change further towards the end of this week.
It seems winter is right around the corner and yet I still love good autumn days when its not to chill and you get beautiful evening sunsets and soft golden light. I think I’ve always been a little in love with autumn and I often think my glaze choices reflect that.
Every autumn also means pumpkin too and I re-made my pumpkin cheesecake from last year with a new base this time – brownies. This recipe is just that little more indulgent than last time, it’s not for the faint of heart though as it contains what John Torode would call ‘big flavours’.
The brownie base is seriously dense and incredibly chocolatey, if your not keen on dark chocolate you could make it slightly lighter by using milk chocolate. I think the base really offsets the earthy cinnamon flavour of the cheesecake topping.
3 ounces of good quality chocolate
5 tablespoons of butter or margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
Optional – handful of chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup low fat cream cheese
1 1/3 cups Quark
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1. First to make the brownie base. In a heat proof bowl melt the chocolate and butter together. Mix in the sugar stirring so that it becomes incorporated to the melted butter and chocolate.
2. In a jug mix together the milk, coffee, vanilla and cornflour until it starts to froth and pour this to the chocolate mixture.
3. Mix in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder until the mixture comes together. It will be incredibly thick – don’t panic! Mix in the walnuts.
4. Butter a round cake tin with a removable bottom and pour the mixture into the bottom. Try to get the mixture spread as evenly as possible and bake in the oven at about 170 degrees for 10-20 minutes until slightly firm to the touch.
5. Prepare the filling. Mix together the pumpkin, cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth. Beat the eggs and add them into the mixture. Pour this over the baked base.
6. Pop the cheesecake back in the oven for 90 minutes. To prevent the top ‘cracking’ get a heatproof bowl and fill it full of water and put it in the bottom of your oven to keep the atmosphere moist.
7. Let your cheesecake cool in the tin, it should shrink back from the sides allowing you to push it out of the tin easily. Let you cheesecake chill for a few hours before eating it, warm cheesecake is just weird.