I'm pretty pleased with this recipe, even if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the quality of the photographs that I have taken of the finished product. Thing is, I'm getting back from work quite late these days, which means that I can't take snaps of the food I'm cooking with the beautifying benefit of natural daylight.
This has been the best that I could manage:
Yeah. So, sorry about that.
But anyway, let me give you the lowdown on this recipe. It's a baked cheesecake, which uses condensed milk as the sweetening agent, ricotta for the cheese element, and a magical trio of cinnamon, ginger and allspice to create a subtle yet distinctive fragrance. With all this going on the pumpkin (or, more accurately, butternut squash) could get lost, but it doesn't. Instead, it adds an almost imperceptible vegetal quality. In a good way.
One thing that I would recommend is making the cheesecake one or preferably two days before you want to serve it. This gives the flavours time to mature, and the cheesecake somehow seems to get creamier.
To make one cheesecake:
One 23 cm springform cake tin - a good one that doesn't leak
250g of digestive biscuits or gingernuts
75g unsalted butter
1 tspn of ground ginger (unnecessary if you're using gingernuts)
One large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 4cm-ish cubes
One 397g tin of condensed milk
250g of ricotta or cream cheese
100ml of double cream
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn ground ginger
1/2 tspn ground allspice
Finely grated zest of one lemon
Preheat your oven to 140 degrees.
Blitz the biscuits in the food processor until fine crumbs. Tip into a mixing bowl. Melt butter and add to the biscuit crumbs. Mix well and then pour into your baking tin. Press the crumbs down evenly to form the base. Chill for ten minutes or so.
Steam the squash cubes until tender, which should take seven to ten minutes. Whilst they're steaming, wash the bowl of the processor out thoroughly and dry. When the squash is soft, transfer it to the food processor and process to a puree. If you were going all out you could pass this puree through a sieve before adding the other ingredients. I didn't and the cheesecake was still silky smooth.
Transfer the puree to a mixing bowl and add the ricotta, condensed milk and cream. Attack the mixture with a whisk, and go at it until it's smooth. Add the eggs, lemon zest and spices and beat well.
Take the base out of the fridge. Pour the mixture on to the base, and place in the oven. My cheesecake took about one and a half hours to set, but I'd check after about an hour by giving it a light shove. You want it to wobble - think creme brulee or other baked custards.
When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before transferring to a plate, covering with clingfilm and chilling thoroughly. Like I say, this is best eaten a couple of days after it's made. Serve with lashings of creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt.