Pumpkin cheesecake w/ nutella ganache
Recipe by dawn finicane of vanillasugarblog.com


crust
1- 10 oz box of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies, crushed fine (I used all 2 sleeves)
1 stick salted butter, melted
Tiny pinch of sea salt
1 ts Vietnamese cinnamon

cheesecake filling
4 - 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, room temp
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup heavy cream (maybe a little less)
3 large eggs and 2 large egg yolks
1 cup plus 3 TB pumpkin puree
1 ts of pure vanilla extract
1 ts cinnamon
Couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice mix (use as much as you like; I’m not fond of it, so I used very little)


Nutella ganache
½ cup (maybe a little more) of milk chocolate chips
4 TB nutella spread
A couple of splashes of heavy cream
2 TB room temp salted butter

cook notes: as I said above I should have used the milk chocolate chips instead of the bittersweet chips. I truly think the milk chocolate will meld better with the nutella. Depending on how thick or thin you like your Ganache use more or less of the heavy cream. This makes a lot of crust for the 10-inch pan, but I like to have it thick, so if you don’t like it thick you could probably halve it. But with the remaining leftover crust I just put it in a bag and freeze or make a mini cheesecake. There will also be leftover cheesecake batter—haven’t figured out how to scale it down yet. But with the leftover crust and batter you can easily make 2 mini cheesecakes if you have the mini springform pans. Also, I do not have a mixer, I know, everyone always ask how I do it, but I do, been that way for decades. So I just use a food processer, works perfectly. But use what you feel comfortable with.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a measuring cup, crack open the eggs and egg yolks, set aside until ready to use.

Spray a 10-inch springform pan with non stick spray. In a food processor grind up the cookies into a fine crumb. In a bowl, combine the cookies, a pinch of salt, and the melted butter. Mix, then press into the bottom and partially up the sides of the springform pan. (I use a flat bottomed glass to press it in evenly). Recipe & photos by Dawn Finicane of vanillakitchen.blogspot.com

Note: there will be some crumbs leftover; I normally use more crumbs than the average cheesecake because I love a thick crumb.

Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is just lightly brown around the edges, set aside and let cool. Reduce the oven heat to 300°F.

In a bowl combine the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and vanilla extract until mixed well, set aside. I used my food processor to make the cheesecake batter—I suppose you could use a mixer, but I don’t have one. With the food processor, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and lump free. Add in the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the eggs one at a time until all is mixed well; add in the heavy cream. Then add in the pumpkin puree mix slowly. Pocess until all is well mixed.


baking:
Most people like to do a water bath for their cheesecake. I never do, I find all too annoying. But if you want to do this please feel free; it’s best to bake your cheesecake how ever you feel most comfortable.
I baked this cheesecake at 300°F for one hour and a half; turned off oven and left it alone for a couple hours. By then your middle should be nice and set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Just before you’re ready to serve this, add on the Ganache. The cheesecake tastes best when the Ganache is nice and warm.


To make Ganache
Over low heat, melt the milk chocolate chips with the nutella, and a few splashes of heavy cream. To get it nice and glossy, just keep stirring being careful not let chocolate burn. Once it’s all melted and combined add in the 2 TB of salted butter to get it nice and glossy. Pour Ganache over the top of cheesecake or over individual slices.