Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Yeah, I know. You can make cheesecake in a pressure cooker. Weird. Well, I had saved a bunch of recipes since we acquired our Instant Pot, but I hadn’t attempted any dessert recipes until now. Of course, I had to try a different type of cheesecake recipe, too, and because it is October I thought I would go with pumpkin. Plus, making a 6″ cheesecake is better when there are only 1-2 mouths to eat it.

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I would categorize the experience as a moderate success. The process of making the cheesecake and the tips in the original recipe worked. The foil sling is simple to construct and easy to use. I thought the idea to include a paper towel to absorb moisture was a good idea since it was completely soaked when I removed the pan, and there was not a huge puddle of water on the cheesecake.

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The cheesecake itself had baked up a bit in the middle and sank while it cooled. I think it was a little underdone in the center, so it might be worth adding a few minutes to the pressure cooking time.  The original recipe does refer to it as a “pake” (i.e. pie cake) so I suppose it’s consistency is supposed to be on the soft side, but that’s not the impression I got from the photos. It’s also possible there wasn’t enough pressure in the pot, though, because the pressure valve dropped well before the 15 minute natural release called for in the recipe.

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I was really looking forward to this pumpkin cheesecake, but it just wasn’t good. It smelled phenomenal after cooking, like I expected. All I could taste, though, was salt. The recipe called for only 1/2 teaspoon of salt, which doesn’t seem like enough to make much of an impact. However, I didn’t notice salt used in many other cheesecake recipes. I could have inadvertently added 1/2 tablespoon of salt, but I’d like to think I would have realized that was a lot and double-checked the source. I did use Trader Joe’s cream cheese instead of Philadelphia cream cheese, and I thought it might have more salt in its ingredients, but I don’t think this “substitution” would have caused the pumpkin and spice flavors to be totally overcome by salt. I also wonder if previous pressure cooker recipes (like pulled pork) has left my pot salty. So anyway, I’ll have to try another recipe.

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The crust was the star of this recipe. I used Trader Joe’s ginger snaps, which have little bits of crystallized ginger in them. I had also not used nuts in any previous crust, and I really liked what the pecans added to the crust here. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I threw away the cheesecake after just one slice, but I ended up eating most of the crust and ganache topping together because the crust was that good.

 

PRESSURE COOKER PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE
Based on recipes found here and here.

INGREDIENTS

Crust:
3/4 cup ginger snap crackers
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp. bourbon
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt (omit)
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature

Chocolate Ganache:
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 tbsp. heavy cream

White Chocolate Ganache:
2 oz. white chocolate chips
1 tbsp. heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1. For the crust: In a food processor, blend cookies, pecans, ginger, and sugars until crumbs form.
  2. Pulse melted butter until just combined.
  3. Pour mixture into the bottom of a greased 6″ springform pan and press firmly into the bottom and 1″ up the sides.
  4. Place pan in the freezer for at least 15 minutes while filling is prepared.
  5. For the filling: In a food processor, blend cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin, cornstarch, spices, bourbon, and vanilla until smooth.
  6. Add eggs and yolk one at a time, pulsing until just combined.
  7. Fold in the cream thoroughly.
  8. Pour the filling into the pan.s
  9. Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom of the pressure cooker and place a trivet inside the pot.
  10. Gently cover the cheesecake with paper towel and then with a piece of foil. Place cheesecake into the pressure cooker using a foil sling.
  11. Lock on lid, close pressure valve, and cook at high pressure for 40 minutes then allow a 15 minute natural release.
  12. After all pressure has been released, remove the pan gently. Remove the foil and paper towel, dabbing any excess liquid that may have formed. Let cheesecake cool for a few hours, then cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
  13. For the ganaches: Add the chocolate chips to a glass bowl. Microwave the heavy cream until boiling, then pour over the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Microwave as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
  14. Add the white chocolate chips to a small bowl. Microwave the heavy cream until boiling, then pour over white chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Microwave as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
  15. Decorate the cheesecake as desired.
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