Pumpkin Chai Cheesecake

 

The butternut pumpkin takes a departure from its usual savoury status in Australian cuisines to take centre stage in this chai-spiced cheesecake. The pumpkin is gently roasted to add a warm depth of flavour to the light cream cheese filling, then delicately spiced with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. The creamy filling is encased in a buttery pecan crust, complemented by a delicious toffee-like roasted pecan praline, and when served with a dollop of cream, makes the most heavenly winter dessert. 

Makes one 20cm (8”) cheesecake Serves 8-10 people

 

INGREDIENTS

Roasted Pecan Crust

  • 200g digestive biscuits

  • 60g pecans

  • 70g unsalted butter, melted

  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

 

Pumpkin Chai Filling

  • 400-450g butternut pumpkin (half a butternut pumpkin)

  • 250g cream cheese, softened

  • 100g caster sugar, sifted

  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon 

  • ½ tsp ground cloves

  • ½ tsp ground cardamom 

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 100ml thickened cream, cold

  • 65ml maple syrup

  • Icing sugar, to dust

  • Dollop cream, to serve, if desired

 

Pecan Praline

  • 50g pecans, finely sliced

  • 100g caster sugar

 

METHOD

Roasted Pecan Crust

1) Preheat oven to 180°C (160° fan-forced), and line a 20cm (8”) spring-form pan with removable base with baking paper. 

2) Place pecans on a tray and roast for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant, taking not to burn. Allow to cool completely.

3) Process digestive biscuits with pecans in a food processer until fine, then mix with melted butter and salt.

4) Press mixture evenly over the base of spring-form pan then par-bake for 8-10 minutes until very lightly golden. Allow to cool. 

 

Pumpkin Chai Filling

 1) Roast pumpkin cut side down in a baking tray in preheated oven for about 60-70 minutes, until well roasted and very soft. Allow to cool, then discard seeds and scoop pumpkin flesh into a food processor. Process pumpkin to a thick puree, then press the puree through a sieve, yielding 180-200g roasted pumpkin puree.

 2) Whisk cream cheese, sugar and ground spices in an electric mixer until light, airy and pale. 

3) Whisk in eggs, one by one, then thickened cream, until smooth and creamy.

4) Whisk in maple syrup and pumpkin puree on low speed until combined.

5) Pour filling into crust, then bake for 35 minutes in a preheated oven. When done, the cheesecake should appear set but have a gentle wobble in the centre.

6) Allow to cool completely in oven with door ajar, then refrigerate until set, ideally overnight.

 

Pecan Praline

1) Preheat oven to 180°C (160° fan-forced), then roast pecans on a tray for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant, taking not to burn. Allow to cool in tray.

 2) Melt sugar in a saucepan until dark amber, then pour over pecans in tray. Allow to cool completely in dry conditions. Smash into small bite-sized pieces. 

3) Praline can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container to maintain crispness.

 

To Serve

1) Dust with sifted icing sugar, then sprinkle with pecan praline.

 2) Serve chilled or at room temperature, with dollop cream if desired.

 

Salma Sabdia is the creative powerhouse behind fabulous baking blog, The Polka Dotter. Click here to check out her blog, here to follow her on Instagram and here on Facebook.