Before you run away with a disgusted look on your face, WAIT! I promise, this is actually a really impressive cheesecake! I know it’s pumpkin pie flavoured, and let’s face it, pumpkin pie is weird. It’s sweet, overly so, and incredibly rich, and too filling for just a dessert – that sounds odd, but really, there’s something about it that makes me cringe a bit internally. Maybe I’m missing something. Or maybe I’m just not acclimatised to sweet pumpkin dishes. Either way, I promise this cheesecake will make you rethink your prejudices against sweet pumpkin dishes!
I was skeptical at first, but thought it was worth a shot – it’s Halloween/Thanksgiving season after all (I don’t know how I became so American so quickly)! And it’s an odd recipe, there’s no debating that. Adding to the fact that it’s a pumpkin-flavoured dessert, it’s also a cheesecake, and that just sounds a bit like ruining a good cheesecake, right? Yeah, but wait, there’s more. This recipe is made in a slow cooker. I know, it’s very strange – I did warn you.
But then again, when you think about it, a slow cooker is possibly the best way of making cheesecake. Think about it: it’s like a faultless bain-marie – it’s a slow, steady increase and decrease in temperature, which means no cracking in the cheesecake. It also means there’s no chance of it curdling or overcooking, because it cooks so slowly that you can’t possibly mess it up that badly! Trust me, you can’t.
And yes, I know that sometimes you just can’t wait 4 hours for a cheesecake, but if you have the time, I recommend it; and I’m going to experiment with other cheesecake recipes to see if they work in the slow cooker too, because an un-cracked cheesecake is a terribly exciting thought!
However, there is one important set back. The slow cooker I used is about 30 years old – I know, they don’t make things like they used to! As such, it has a diameter of about 20cm. That’s fine for a small cheesecake, but if you want a cheesecake that feeds more than 8 hungry people, you’re going to need a bigger slow cooker, or bake two different cheesecakes, but that brings the cooking time to 8 hours…not the best. What’s more, if you have an oval slow cooker, you’re in for a funny looking cheesecake – but hey, maybe that’s fine? I don’t know. But it’s worth a shot!
300g peeled kent pumpkin, cut into 4cm cubes
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
100g unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs, 1 lightly beaten
250g cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans
2 tbsp pepitas
¼ cup maple syrup
lots of cream to serve
1. Place the pumpkin in a medium saucepan and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and leave to air-dry.
2. Grease and line the slow-cooker with two thin sheets baking paper, overlapping each other. Wrap the lid with a clean tea towel and tighten with a rubber band, to prevent any condensation from dripping onto the cake and ruining the appearance.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder brown sugar, half of the melted butter and the beaten egg in a medium bowl and mix until a dough forms. Press the dough into the base of the slow cooker – don’t worry about the sides of the slow cooker, just cover the base of the slow cooker.
4. Purée the pumpkin in a food processor. Then add the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon until combined.
5. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, pulsing until combined. And finish by adding the remaining butter and pulsing to combine.
6. Pour the mixture into the slow-cooker and cook on a low heat for about 4 hours, until the outside is set but the centre is still slightly wobbly.
7. Turn off the slow-cooker and leave to rest for 30 minutes before removing by carefully lifting up the baking paper, then set aside to cool completely.
8. Heat your oven to 180°C. On a tray, roast the pecans for 3 minutes, then add the pepitas and roast for a further 5 minutes, until golden.
9. Heat the maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the roasted pecans and pepitas to the pan and cook for a few minutes, until sticky and coated – they will harden on cooling.
10. Top the cheesecake with the maple pecans and pepitas, and serve with mountains of cream.
- If you want to try this in the oven, you could use a casserole dish and bake it at 140C fan-forced for 4 hours with a lid or some foil over the top. But do keep an eye on it! I’ve never tried this, so just be aware that it really may not work!
- You don’t have to top this with pecans and pepitas, but they do add a nice element of texture. If you’re running short of time, just sprinkle some roasted pecans over the top and drizzle with maple syrup instead of cooking them in the syrup.