Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Cheesecake: Step by Step

Recipe from Death By Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers

For a dinner we were hosting on Sunday, I decided to go all out and make a fancy cheesecake, one involving multiple components. This book was a recent Value Village purchase ($5!) and complemented my treasured copy of Celebrate With Chocolate. There were many individual components:

Deep Dark Chocolate Fudge Cookies The first step was to make these chocolate cookies, which included cocoa powder, plain chocolate plus unsweetened chocolate! I didn't even include the optional chocolate chips! I only needed six of them for the crust, but it's no problem having a few extra cookies lying around, in our chocolate-loving family! While baking these cookies, I also cooked some fresh pumpkin cubes to make a sweetened purée.

Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Crust Due to a nut allergy, I didn't use pecans as called for in the original recipe, but substituted toasted pumpkin seeds. Don't consider shelling your own: it takes forever, and only gets you a few ounces after an hour and a half. Lesson learned. Good thing we have a jar of shelled ones on hand.

Making Cheesecake with Daddy I had a little helper during the cheesecake making process! He was very interested in pushing the levers, lifting the bowl, and feeling the motor vibrate.

Unbaked Cheesecakes Making the cheesecakes was straightforward but time consuming, due to a lot of creaming, scraping and stirring. After making the chocolate batter, i had to make the pumpkin one. I misread the quantities and didn't have enough block cream cheese. Substituting a bit of spreadable cream cheese in the round tub seemed to work alright.

Baked Cheesecakes The baking process has a few steps: it needs to be done with a tray of water to provide moisture in the oven cavity, and then the oven is turned off after baking, then it comes out and rests for an hour before refrigeration. (I spread the cake over two days.)

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin CheesecakeTo finish, I made a chocolate ganache, then spread half of it on the bottom, chocolate cheesecake, then placed the pumpkin one on top. It was difficult to transfer the cheesecake without it falling apart. Chilling it first makes it a bit easier. The "sandwich" goes into the fridge for a few hours to set. Then, I warmed the ganache in the micro for a few seconds to make it spreadable, then covered the top and sides of the cheesecake layers. Finally, I took the reserved cookie crumbs and pressed handfuls of it into the edges of the ganache.

Let's make it very clear that this is a rich cheesecake. It is very difficult to consume anything more than a thin wedge of it in one sitting. The chocolate flavours are very intense and rich, and the pumpkin layer provides flavour contrast (but not relief). I'm glad I held back on the spices so as not to hide the delicate squash flavour. A winner, and something suitable to feed a dozen people. At my house, I ate a small slice of this every day for a week!