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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Gluten Free Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

I'm on a completely non-ironic pumpkin spice craze, despite the fact that I have not consumed any pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice lattes this year.  Although I do enjoy a pumpkin-spice latte once or twice a year, this is sort of a new thing for me.  A few weeks ago, I made some pumpkin butter, which really looks more like pumpkin poo. That was my gateway drug.  I started putting it in my oatmeal and really liked it, so I made more.  Then I used some of it in pancakes, and liked that as well.  My neighbors had a fall-themed potluck, so of course I had to make a pumpkin cheesecake.  And of course it had to be gluten free...After much perusing of recipes online, I decided to make one with a mix of cream cheese and ricotta.  I have sentimental reason for doing this, and I happened to have ricotta. 
When I was a kid, my mom liked to make cheesecake.  Once in a great while, if she had to take it to a potluck or something, she pulled out her recipe and made one with all cream cheese and that nice sour cream layer on top.  That was awesome.  Most of the time, if it was just for us, she would take a bunch of cottage cheese, eggs, sugar, and lemon and put them in the blender and use that as the filling. She didn't use a recipe, but the overall proportions are something like this recipe.   Once in a while she would add a brick of cream cheese, but usually she didn't.  Sometimes she did this when she got discounted cottage cheese which was nearing its expiration date.  Anyway, as a result, these cottage cheese cheesecakes are my point of reference for cheesecake, even though I also love the richer all-cream cheese ones. I found a recipe for a pumpkin ricotta cheesecake online, but then proceeded to make major changes to it.

For the crust

1 1/4 cups ground almond flour
3/4 cup gluten free flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350F.  Melt butter and let cool.  Beat in egg yolk and add vanilla and almond extract.  Combine dry ingredients and mix. Pour wet ingredients on top and mix.  Press into bottom and sides of a 9" or 10" springform pan.* Bake until crust is lightly browned and has started to set.

For the filling
1 lb cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups ricotta
5 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves

 I used both a mixer and a blender here, but you don't have to.  I wanted to get the ricotta and pumpkin really smooth.  Unfortunately I still had a few small lumps of cream cheese since my mixing bowl is tall and narrow, and some lumps got left on the bottom.  Anyway, whip up cream cheese until no lumps remain.  Add ricotta, eggs and sugar and dry ingredients and blend well (or puree ricotta and pumpkin in blender with eggs, and then cream cheese mixture).  Pour into springform pan.  Place springform pan ina large roasting pan and add boiling water up to appx 1/2 the height of the springform pan.  Bake at 350F until it is set.  I think mine took about 1 1/2 hours.  Allow to cool to room temperature before putting in fridge.

I really increased the amount of filling relative to the original recipe.  If I make this again I will use a 10" crust.  As it was I had a little bit of extra filling which I put into a glass loaf pan and baked.

Anyway, it came out well.  It was creamy but not grainy or heavy.  It was very popular at the potluck.  If I make it again I will up the sugar a bit (maybe 25% more) and also increase the spices.