Monday, October 31, 2016

Mini Orange and Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Walnut Crust – Trick? Treat!

Pin It First published: 27/10/14

 Legend has it that long ago, in the depths of Ireland, there was a farmer named Jack. Jack was notoriously mean and sneaky. Over the years he had peeved heaven and hell so much with his meanness and trickery that when he popped his clogs, he was refused admittance to both. To get rid of him, the Devil sent Jack away with a burning ember to light his way through eternal darkness. Jack hollowed out a turnip in which to carry the ember. To this day, he roams the earth looking for a resting place, with the strange lantern lighting his way. Wooooo-ooooh. The End.

Okay, the legend is a bit longer than that but the essential bit is the lantern. Thankfully, when Irish emigrants brought the legend and the lantern to the other side of the Atlantic, they discovered that pumpkins were a lot easier to carve than turnips and looked much more impressive. I’m glad because Orange and Turnip Cheesecake doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!

For approximately 22 mini cheesecakes you will need…
… to preheat the oven to 160°C while the cheesecake bases are chilling.

500g full fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia) at room temperature
250g pureed pumpkin pulp (available in a tin)
125g brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon corn flour, sifted
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
a small pinch of ground cloves (go easy, it’s a very strong spice)
finely grated zest of one orange (just the very outer layer)
2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk 

Biscuit base
225g digestive biscuits (graham crackers)
75g walnuts
75g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
90g butter 

Ready-made spooky chocolate shapes
OR some melted chocolate and an artistic flair

 For the filling
First make the filling. (This allows excess air bubbles incorporated while mixing a chance to escape, reducing cracking in the surface of the cheesecakes.)
Place all the ingredients, except the eggs, in a food processor and pulse until combined into a smooth batter. Now add the eggs and pulse until just combined. Transfer to a large jug and leave to one side while you prepare the base. 

For the base
Line 22 muffin cups with paper liners (I use two 12 cup tins and line 11 cups of each)
Place all the ingredients, except the butter, in a food processor and pulse until the biscuits are reduced to a fine crumb. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the crumb mixture to the melted butter and stir to combine.
Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin papers, about a heaped teaspoon in each and press down lightly and evenly. Place in the fridge until cool. (Preheat the oven now).
Pat the base into an even layer - the back of a teaspoon will do but this little cookie stamp is perfect
When the bases have chilled for about 10 minutes, remove from the fridge and divide the filling between the paper liners, leaving a gap of about 3mm at the top.
Carefully transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until they have risen very slightly and there is no wobble when you shake the tins gently.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the muffin tins. They will collapse a little. This is normal and allows room for the chocolate decorations to go on top.
When cool, cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.
Cover with white, milk or dark chocolate. Decorate with contrasting spooky chocolate shapes. (You’ll need to work quickly as the chocolate sets almost instantly on the cold cheesecake.
Happy Halloween!!!

(The cheesecakes will freeze, undecorated, in a single layer in a freezer container for up to a month. Thaw before decorating.)

For the chocolate shapes, I copied templates from the internet, making sure to size them a little smaller than the diameter of the cakes. I printed them out and placed them on a baking tray, under a sheet of non-stick baking parchment. I melted chocolate in a ziplock bag then used it as a piping bag by snipping off a tiny corner and drawing over the shapes I could see through the parchment. (I also ate a lot of the ones that didn’t turn out quite right but you could re-melt them if you have stronger willpower than me.)

I placed the finished shapes in the fridge for an hour until solid and then carefully peeled away the paper before transferring them to the chocolate-covered cheesecakes.
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  1. Those spooky chocolate shapes make these mini cheesecakes look so festive and pretty!

  2. This cheesecake looks absolutely gorgeous, wouldn't mind a nice big piece right now :D
    Or since mini, how about four or five? :P
    I love their halloween patterns!

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. I'm older than dirt and from the US but I never knew how the jack-o-lantern came to be associated with Halloween. :) I always figured it was pumpkin time. LOL

    I want these chesecakes!

  4. Love the cheesecake recipe, Hester, but those spiders? Yuck!!

  5. How clever…I love the way you decorated the mini cheesecakes. I bet they were as good as they look.

  6. Ooh you've spooked me out with the Jack story. Had no idea on that one. And with a name like plain Jill, I don't want him knocking on my door. I'll hide and eat these cheesecakes, plain without any spooky things on them... they look delicious!

  7. I particularly like your chocolate shapes. Such a smart idea to print the patterns and work on them!

  8. Just beautiful Hester. Nice work :)

  9. These Halloween looks wicked! Love it :D

  10. Very nice cheesecakes...looks absolute delight..I would love to eat them all. Perfect treat for halloween :)

  11. I love how you tell a story. Always so entertaining. These cheesecakes are pinned for the holidays. I love any treat with automatic portion control! :)

  12. Hester, what a wonderful and delicious treat for Halloween - these mini cheesecakes with the biscuit base and the pumpkin cheesecake filling sound just perfect for this time of year and I love your cute chocolate decorations on top.
    Hope all is well - saw on fb that your sister published a childrens´ book - good luck for that! What a talented family!
    Kind regards - liebe Grüsse,

  13. Oh Hester, I love these mini cheesecake with the spinder on it! So spooky, but I won't stay away because it's orange and pumpkin cheesecake! Wow what a fun and yummy combination! Love that, and would love to eat this! My son will really love the spiders. You're very talented and artsy! :)

  14. Lovely idea this one. The halloween patterns are indeed so cool.

  15. These are so sweet! Love the chocolate decorations too!

  16. These are adorable! They are so fun and I really like the chocolate spiders.

  17. Love the chocolate decorations on the top- they're so cute! I've actually never heard the story before- then again I don't really celebrate halloween or anything so it's probably not surprising haha....

  18. SO festive and delicious! I am so impressed with your chocolate toppers...well done, my friend!!!


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