Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake

For dessert today my family will be having this Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake that I stumbled upon in the checkout lane of the grocery store. The recipe is from the Pillsbury Thanksgiving Classics Cookbook.

* 1 1/2 cups chocolate graham crackers (slightly more than 1 sleeve)
* 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
* 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
* 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 5 eggs


* 1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts), toasted and chopped
* 2 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 cup caramel topping

Mix the crushed graham grackers and melted butter to make the crust. Spread the crust in the bottom of your springform pan and compact it with something wide and flat (I used the bottom of a coffee mug). Pre-bake at 300 for 8-10 minutes.

Using an electric mixer mix the room temperature cream cheese, making sure to get rid of any lumps. Add eggs one at a time while, scraping the bowl in between to avoid lumps and promote a homogeneous mixture. Add sugar and continue to mix. With the brown sugar be sure to break up any hard sugar balls with your fingers. The mixer won't do the job.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, pumpkin spice and pumpkin filling.

Add the pumpkin filling to your cheesecake filling and mix thoroughly. Your end result should appear to be a very light orange with freckles typical of a pumpkin pie. Don't worry if the batter doesn't taste good on its own. Some cheesecake is like that. This is one of them.

The recipe calls for a 75-85 minute bake at 300 degrees. I use a steam bath for my cheesecakes so I pushed the temperature to 325. Every cheesecake is different, so either way you should bake for about 70 minutes and then check periodically to see if the cheesecake is set and golden around the edges and slightly firm in the middle.

Cool at room temperature for 2 hours, and in the refrigerator for 4 additional hours (or overnight).

For the topping I chopped and toasted (aka sauteed) walnuts and set them on top. Then I steam melted (stainless steel mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water) a 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, dipped the tines of a fork in the melted chocolate and pretended to write cursive over top of the cheesecake. Same with the caramel (though I used the microwave). That gave it the wacky, artfully out of control look you see.Later tonight or tomorrow, I'll add an update to the bottom of this post and let you know what I thought about its taste.

Final Verdict:
Not as sweet as regular cheesecake, not as pumpkin as pumpkin pie. So in the end it sort of leaves you pining for both. A decent recipe, but not anything to write home about. The guests enjoyed it more than I did, but I felt like they would have been more impressed by a normal cheesecake with similar toppings.