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Because in food I trust. In all forms and shapes. 

Pumpkin cheesecake with berries

Pumpkin cheesecake with berries

I have a sweet tooth so it’s difficult for me to say which cake I like best, but one thing is clear – I can’t refuse a good cheesecake. And I wouldn’t even want to. There are many different cheesecake variations, but this is one that’s good to use when you have such a wide variety of pumpkins – butternut, muscat, acorn – to name a few.

A wide variety of pumpkins have only reached Latvia in the last few years, but their popularity is growing. I don’t particularly like a very sweet topping for the cake. That’s why I usually decorate them with a Greek yogurt/whipped cream blend topped with blueberries, but if I’m preparing this cake in the summer with leftover pumpkin form last year, then I just use wild blueberries. But you can just as well decorate them with sweet whipped cream or caramel (tastes wonderful, and because of the sweetness, you can serve it this way at parties in small servings because it will be sweet enough). Or you can strain sour cream through some cheesecloth, whip that up, and serve with berries. And candied nuts also go great with cheesecake.

Ingredients

base:
260 g “Digestive” or oatmeal cookies
50 g walnuts
40 g pumpkin seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
100 g butter, melted

filling:
875 g cream cheese*
350 g light brown sugar
6 tbsp wheat flour
230 g condensed milk
300 g pumpkin mash (about 600 g fresh, peeled and seeded pumpkin)**
1 tsp vanilla seeds
4 medium eggs

top layer:
300 g Greed yogurt
40 g brown sugar
vanilla paste to taste or seeds from 1/4 vanilla pod
200 g sweet cream
300‒400 g blueberries

Prepare

Prepare the pumpkin filling. Boil water in the bottom of a double boiler, place the pumpkin in the top, and steam until soft. Cool, process, and push through a sieve. If the pumpkin is mealy, measure 300 g of the mash and set aside. If the pumpkin is watery, definitely pour of the liquid and weigh the mash.

Heat the oven to 200° with the top and bottom elements heating. Place the rack one level below centre. Line the bottom of a 23 cm diametre cake pan with parchment paper.

Prepare the base. Process the cookies so they are quite fine and place in a bowl. Process the nuts and seeds into medium size crumbs and add to the cookie crumbs. Add the cinnamon and melted butter and mix. Press the mixture unto the bottom and sides of the pan making it about 5mm thick. Make sure the corner is not too thick.

Prepare the filling. In a mixing bowl, place 350 g cream cheese, about 50 g sugar, and 5 tbsp flour. Beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment, but if you don’t have one, then whisk for about 2 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides, until the mixture is creamy. Continuing beating, gradually add 200 g cream cheese, incorporating each addition well. When all the cream cheese has been added, add the remaining sugar in three parts. Then, while the mixer is running, add 150 g condensed milk and the vanilla seeds. Slowly mix everything in, scraping down the sides. Increase the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating each one in well and scraping down the sides. In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin mash with the remaining flour and condensed milk, and while the mixer is on low speed, add to the cream cheese mixture. Mix everything well on low speed, just until fully incorporated.

Pour the filling into the pan and bake for 1 hour 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temp. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but 12 is better.

Before serving, place the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and whip until it becomes a smooth creamy mixture. Then, while beating, add the cream and beat until soft, but firm peaks form. Place on the cake and decorate with the berries. Serve.

Recipe: Signe Meriane, from book "Time to cook"
Photo: Armands Meirans

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