There are hardly words for what my brain does when I begin creating something new or trying a new recipe. It’s kind of like when you watch a perfect ending to a movie – like Grease for example when Sandy & Danny FLY off into their perfect happily ever after and your heart just kind of smiles… That is how I think I feel when I manage to create something lovely. Should I get help?
Walking to the check out in Harris Teeter several weeks ago I was completely overcome with a force to rationalize $5 & buy the above magazine, Martha Stewart Living. Which- I never do- I’ll be honest and share that Martha is a little too perfect for my taste but, I do respect her for all she has done and she is sincerely a woman of talent & grace. Is it too much to say I was Smitten when I saw there were 1/2 a dozen pies I had never imagined making?
So. I chose this one first.
The best part about this is the crust. You make it with gingersnaps & butter & it’s amazing. Crunchy and full of that butter taste you appreciate in a good crust- and the perfect creamy texture of the filling which is sweet but, not overwhelming. The beautiful meringue on top seals the deal on this beauty.
It was fun to make. Not too many ingredients considering the final result but, I will go on record and say now- I did not care for the ginger. If I made it again I would leave this out and unless you’re a rare Ginger lover- I’d suggest you do the same. It will harmonize better without it.
You’re going to need several things to make this:
- a food processor
- 9 inch pie crust
- piping bag or large ziplock bag if you opt for a leaf effect
- a kitchen torch
- a heavy duty mixer or lots of patience using your hand mixer
You’re also going to have three tasks:
- making the crust & baking it
- making the filling & baking it
- making the meringue & applying it
Maybe there are six tasks haha.
Take your time on this one because the end result will be better! Give yourself at least a day to make the cheese cake and prepare the meringue the following day. I start by laying out all my ingredients when there are several steps like in the below picture.
So breaking out the food processor add the cookies and pulse until they’re crumbly. Like this:
Add melted butter and blend until you have a moist glorious almost there crust!
Then you want to press it into your pie plate and if you want to be fancy reserve some of the crust for the final presentation. I didn’t do it and wish I had cause Martha made it look badass.
Stick it in the freezer for about 30 minutes & let your oven pre-heat during this time and go ahead & wash out the food processor as you need it for the filling.
You’re gonna bake it about 20 minutes at 350 and then using the bottom of a measuring cup flatten it out. Sorry I failed you here because a photo would’ve been helpful. Hopefully your filling is ready to be poured right in once you take it out of the oven and do above.
Caution: Make sure when you read the recipe below you follow every direction because details are super important!
Filling: Pulse cream cheese in food processor until smooth. Add sugar and pumpkin and process until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg and yolk, flour, salt, cinnamon, and cloves until all mixed together and smooth. (Ginger if you want!)
Scrape it out with a cute scraper if you have one and if not even the simple ones work! Don’t be like me and own over 20 of them… unless you really need them of course.. Like I certainly do, right?
While this is baking I’d go ahead and make your meringue cause it’s gonna take a while. You get to make it the old school way though which is honestly the best.
Meringue: Combine sugar and egg whites in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set bowl over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisking until sugar dissolves and whites are warm. Remove from heat. Beat on high speed until thick, glossy stiff peaks form, about 12 minutes or longer if you’re using a hand mixer.
That last photo is the bowl UPSIDE down. The peaks should not fall… then you’re ready to decorate your cheesecake! There are endless other things you can do with Meringue also but, I’ll save it for another day.
Also, when the cake is done it will look something like this. It should not be wobbly & it will be kind of attractive.
You want to see the edge of the cake look kind of like this.
It needs to be cold before you add it with a minimum of 2 hours in the fridge but, I say overnight is best.
I use a piping bag obviously but, I think you could swing it if you had to with a ziplock! Then I just played around with it. I practiced on a plate before I added it to the cake.
The torch is so much fun & addictive! First I tried to do it like Martha & I was in a hurry so It wasn’t quite perfect but, it was lovely. Take your time because, it will show in the end result. I have slightly uneven edges as you can see but, I was crunched to take it to a cook out!
See how the above two are so different & the 2nd photo is way striking. The way you make your guests go- wow this is beautiful! haha. Be careful when you have the torch as it really starts to become a game of how much is too much. You don’t want to make it look like a toasted marshmallow.
Then I was indecisive as I often am and decided I’d rather dump it all on and make it look completely different. I loved it this way and this is definitely more doable for a home baker. Pile the meringue higher than I did and it will look silly cool. Then break out the torch and have at it-it’s so much fun!! The recipe says you can use the broiler to do this- I am sure you can but, remember it will be what you get is what you get- you can’t control it & you’d probably want to chill it again beforehand.
If you’re looking for something different & beautiful for your Thanksgiving meal- this is a great option. Here’s the recipe- let me know if you make it!
Happy Thursday friends.
- 6 ounces gingersnaps (about 23), broken into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 1 large whole egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I caution u!)
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature ( I leave mine out at least 4 hours)
- Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse gingersnaps and sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add butter and pulse to combine. Press mixture evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Bake crust until golden in spots, about 15 minutes. With the bottom of a measuring cup, gently flatten bottom and sides of crust. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Filling: Pulse cream cheese in food processor until smooth. Add sugar and pumpkin and process until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Add egg and yolk, flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; process until incorporated.
- Pour filling into cooled shell and bake until custard is just set, about 33 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Meringue: Combine sugar and egg whites in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set bowl over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisking until sugar dissolves and whites are warm. Remove from heat. Beat on high speed until thick, glossy stiff peaks form, about 6 minutes.
- Transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a large leaf tip (such as Ateco #115). Pipe leaves around border of chilled pie, releasing pressure to create tips. Holding a small kitchen torch at a 90-degree angle, 3 inches from surface of meringue, move flame back and forth over meringue until it starts to brown. (Or broil 6 to 8 inches from heat source, about 1 minute.) Serve immediately.