COOKING ADVENTURE # 79: No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
Holy Hades. I’ve decided that marshmallows dethrone onions as the most evil food ever. You may have noticed that I’ve done several different recipes this year that have included marshmallow. Why, you might wonder? I don’t typically eat marshmallows. In fact, I don’t really like them other than in s’mores or toasted over a firepit. But I do enjoy them more than their gelatinous, detestable cousin–Fluff. So when I happened upon this recipe for No-Bake Pumpkin Cheescake, I figured I could substitute the fluff ingredient for marshmallow. No. NO. NOOOOOOOOOO. *epic facepalm* I now have what is very likely a dead mixer because of its sly, demonic stickiness and an oncoming migraine. But Happy Thanksgiving. Really.
So, here I was a day away from Thanksgiving, the glorious holiday of giving appreciation for what one has as well as gorging on umpteen different kinds of pies and the largest turkey ever to walk the face of the planet. I had told my mom that I would bring something for the dinner but up until that moment, still had no idea what I was going to make. After browsing Pinterest for longer than I’d care to disclose, I came across a seemingly easy recipe for no-bake pumpkin cheesecake, something that sounded absolutely divine. I had most of the ingredients for it…I just had to go to the store on one of the busiest days ever and get the rest. And while I was almost entirely sure they’d be out of canned pumpkin, I was in luck. Only three cans left.
…Cat just puked. Excuse me….I know. A wonderful intermission.
…Moving on. Thanksgiving morning, I waited ’til pretty much the last minute to make the cheesecake which may not have been the best idea. But I was glad that I didn’t have to do any baking, lest I run out of cooking time, or it turn into a blackened hunk of solid matter. The recipe came from SoCalCouponMommy and I thank her immensely for sharing it with everyone!
The first step is to take out 16 oz. of cream cheese and soften it in a mixing bowl with an electric beater. I had kind of gone overkill last night on buying cream cheese because I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to have enough time to make the cheesecake (or if I’d make it correctly) and so needed back up ingredients to make something else just in case. I opened two boxes and dumped both blocks into my glass mixing bowl. My beater was a gift from my neighbor when I moved into my apartment several years ago. And while it does have a slightly metallic aroma about it when its beating, it does its job very well. It even has a TURBO button. I’ve never tried it, partially because I’m afraid that the bowl might sky-rocket across the kitchen and break through the window. So, just low is good for now.
I blended the cheesecake until it had softened up and then moved onto the next obstacle: the marshmallow. The last time I used marshmallows was for the red velvet ghost cake in October. I kept two bags up in the cabinet on the highest shelf…right where I can’t reach. It also happens that I forgot about those two bags entirely, and opted for the bag that I’d thrown in the freezer who knows how long ago. Frozen marshmallows. Don’t do it. Save yourself the trouble and just don’t. Obviously you can’t mix frozen marshmallows. So, I decided that I would revive them with a trip in the microwave for thirty seconds. And as expected, they came out like an albino molten goo which was extremely reluctant to leave the bowl when I tried to scoop it out. After battling the unintended marshmallow spiderweb that I created in a panic, I decided that I should mix in some whipped cream as well, just to give it a smoother texture. The last to add in this step as 14 oz. of sweetened condensed milk. I dumped the whole can and then without thinking, turned on the mixer.
The results were much like you’d expect. Sweetened condensed milk speckles everywhere. Across the stove, the frying pan, the tea kettle and the stove. Joy, oh, joy. After cleaning it up and then folding all of the ingredients into each other (like I should have before), I turned on the mixer again and, this time, everything mixed according to plan. The only issue was that the marshmallow had returned to its rock hard form by now and wouldn’t mix with everything else, leaving little clumps through out the batter like little lurking leviathans. The other thing that had happened that I didn’t know at the time was that the marshmallow had wormed its way up the beater and into the gears of the mixer. I wouldn’t discover this until after I’d done all the mixing. Yup.
After I had something that looked like a smooth white snowfield, albeit with a few marshmallow hills, I added in 1 cup of pumpkin and my spices (1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1/2 tsp ground cloves) and after folding everything in, beat it until everything was well blended… Sort of. I had to take a spoon and remove the reluctant marshmallow bits.
I opened up a graham cracker crust (pre-bought at the store–I wasn’t about to make one from scratch last minute) and poured the pumpkin cheesecake batter into it until it was full. I still had a bunch left over and can make some mini pumpkin cheesecakes in a muffin pan later if desired. We’ll see how this one turns out first. Lastly, I wanted to add something to the top to give it some style. So I ended up making a dopey-looking smiley face out of caramel bits and chocolate chips. Not quite as elegant as I’d hoped but it could have come out a lot worse. Then the cheesecake went into the freezer for four + hours to completely set. Granted its supposed to go into the refrigerator for 24 hours but I didn’t check the recipe last night when I should have.
After a tremendous dinner of many scrumptious foods, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a piece of my pumpkin cheesecake. I was a little dismayed to find it quickly turning to soup, (even though it spent a long time in the FREEZER!) but in the end, it tasted sweet and silky with the marshmallow bits providing a surprisingly nice touch. And add to that the traditional cranberry coffeecake made by my brother, and a wonderful pumpkin pie provided by my mom and I was ready to hibernate. I also unfortunately realized that I still have batter in the fridge to make more…Oy. I’m going to have to make another pie and hope I don’t devour it all!
Coming up in Cooking Adventures for December, I will once again be trying my hand at making a gingerbread Tardis, though this time I’ll have help and it won’t look like its made out of cardboard. I’m also hoping to make a couple more things before the holiday comes. So stay tuned!