Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake with a Brownie Crust

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I've been dying for the holidays to start. Usually we put up the Christmas decorations and tree after Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving was so late this year that I got impatient.

I worked all Thanksgiving week, so we couldn't go home, but we had a Friendsgiving up in New Haven with our Yale friends for the weekend. 
Our friend bought all the ingredients and prepped the turkey brine before we came up. B cooked the turkey and the sides while I napped during day since I had just finished a night shift.

Our enormous Thanksgiving meal did not stop up from our favorite New Haven eats - lobster rolls, New Haven apizza, and of course we brought back no less than 3 pints of Arethusa ice cream.
Of course we drove up with Nike, and she had a blast hiking and playing with all her adoring fans. Sleeping Giant park used to be one of our favorite places to hike, but in the end of my 2nd year of residency a tornado (!) came to Connecticut and destroyed the famous state park. It took over a year for them to open the park again, and sadly when we graduated it was still closed. It was good to hike it again (Nike hasn't seen it since she was a puppy), even if we saw a lot of broken and downed trees that were remnants from the storm.
Because of work, I had made this pumpkin swirl cheesecake prior while in Philadelphia, froze it, and brought it up with us. The brownie crust turned out delicious but I would probably stick with regular graham cracker crust next time for the sake of time.
I was disappointed with how the chocolate swirling turned out (more blobs than swirls), but no one seem to be bothered at all while eating it. I think the issue was using Trader Joe's canned pumpkin which is more watery and less concentrated than my usual Libby's canned pumpkin, so it didn't swirl as evenly with the thick chocolate cheesecake batter. Also the original recipe made SO much batter in relation to the crust, so I have reduced the batter in my version. Chocolate by Taza Chocolate. Recipe is adapted from Food and Wine.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake with a Brownie Crust


Ingredients
BROWNIE CRUST
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Taza chocolate)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

CHEESECAKE
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped  (I used Taza chocolate)
1 8-oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Direction
BROWNIE CRUST: Preheat the oven to 325°F. butter a 6-inch springform pan. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the chopped chocolate over a double boiler. Remove the melted chocolate mixture from the heat, then stir in the sugar and the lightly beaten egg until blended.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the melted chocolate mixture. Pour the batter in the prepared springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Wrap the outside of the pan in a large sheet of foil.

CHEESECAKE: Melt the chocolate over a double boiler in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, then beat in the cornstarch and vanilla. Add 1 cup of the cheesecake batter to the melted chocolate and stir until well blended (chocolate cheesecake portion). Beat the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into the remaining cheesecake batter (pumpkin cheesecake portion).

Pour most of the pumpkin cheesecake batter over the brownie crust. Pour the chocolate batter on top of the pumpkin cheesecake batter. Spoon the remaining pumpkin cheesecake batter on top of the chocolate batter. Use a table knife to make a few decorative swirls; do not overswirl.

Set the springform pan wrapped in foil in a medium pan. Add water to the pan to reach halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake the pumpkin cheesecake in the hot water bath in the center of the oven for 1 hour 15 min, or until it is firm around the edges but slightly jiggly in the center.

Remove the marbled pumpkin cheesecake from the water bath at room temperature, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve cheesecake chilled and enjoy!

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