Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 1:
 
This one had been on my mind for a long time. I finally got around to making a baked cheesecake involving what I felt to be a popular October flavor. This first prototype was done, of course, in that very month.
 
Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
2 oz. pumpkin butter (such as from Trader Joe's)
4 oz. whipped lowfat cottage cheese, no salt added
1/4 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2.2 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Batter:
2 tablespoons melted or softened butter
3 oz. pumpkin butter
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whipped lowfat cottage cheese, no salt added
2 eggs

Bake at 300 degrees for about 110 minutes (with tub immersion), or until cake tester comes clean.
 
It looks like I have somehow overestimated the strength of the pumpkin flavor. I had the tendency to think that it was about as strong as peanut butter, so the batter got only 3 ounces of pumpkin butter, just like the 4th prototype of Baked Peanut Butter Cheesecake (the latest peanut butter prototype as of the making of this first pumpkin prototype here) got this same amount of peanut butter. Back when I made a dessert combining the pumpkin flavor with eggnog (see Chilled Pumpkin Eggnog Pie—Prototype 1 for more details), the pumpkin was overwhelming, at least compared to the eggnog. It was likely this pie (at least) which led to my thinking of pumpkin as being a very strong flavor. Perhaps a better reasoning would have been to consider that the eggnog was much too weak in that dessert.

Nevertheless, this
pumpkin cheesecake was a "smashing" success at an early October "potluck" lunch at Living Hope Church in Beverly.
 
Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 2:

Repeat Prototype 1, but boost the batter's pumpkin butter by 1 ounce, to 4 ounces.
 
The taste had a somewhat improved pumpkin presence, and this cheesecake went very fast at Living Hope Church.
 
Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 3:
 
After doing a combination cheesecake involving pumpkin and eggnog flavors (see Baked Eggnog Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 1 for more details), I wanted to make a deeper pumpkin cheesecake. Two 16-ounce containers of cottage cheese altogether are used for the prototype presented here. The flour used here was white whole wheat, as opposed to all-purpose. I also did some pre-baking of the crust in an effort to reduce excessive sogginess. In my desire to better ensure firmness for the batter, I used a somewhat large amount of flour and opted to bake this cheesecake for a good two hours.
 
Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
2 oz. pumpkin butter (such as from Trader Joe's)
1 cup (8 oz.) whipped lowfat cottage cheese, no salt added
1/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2.2 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Pour this crust mixture into a 9" pan and pre-bake this at 300 degrees (without tub) for 20 minutes. Then cool this off until the pan is comfortable enough to touch.

Batter:
2 tablespoons melted or softened butter
5/8 cup granulated sugar
6 oz. pumpkin butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups (24 oz.) whipped lowfat cottage cheese, no salt added
2 eggs

Bake at 300 degrees (with tub) for 2 hours.

Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 3 Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 3 (sliced)

The batter seemed to come out hopefully firm enough, and the crust did not seem too soggy either. When I pre-baked the crust earlier, however, it seemed that 20 minutes was a little too long, as the crust rose probably about 1/4", then fell back and left its outer edge running up about that amount against the inside of the pan. The two hours of baking time for the batter resulted in it having some small cracks, but I reasoned that this was okay, signifying a sufficiently baked cheesecake.

I brought this one to a couple of my cousins' homes on Thanksgiving, Joanne's and Lauren's, and some guests there complimented on this cheesecake. But I myself had difficulty tasting a sufficient presence of pumpkin flavor.
 
Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 4:
 
With the arrival of October (to me the pumpkin month), it was time for me to update my pumpkin prototypes with some yogurt cheese, just like I had done on other flavors earlier in 2012. In light of the popularity of whipped cream being served with pumpkin pies, I made a late decision to add vanilla to the pumpkin cheesecake's batter.

It has also more recently come to my attention that the crust's layer for many of my cheesecakes was too thick, relative to the batter's layer. So for this prototype, I cut the amount of crust nearly in half.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces (1 cup) of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Crust:
1 oz. melted, white chocolate
2 oz. pumpkin butter (such as from Trader Joe's)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
4 oz. (1/2 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
1.1 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Pour this crust mixture into pan (9 to 9 1/2 inches) and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5 minutes, then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
2 tablespoons melted or softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
7 oz. pumpkin butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (20 oz.) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Pour on top of crust. Then bake in tub at 300 degrees for 60 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan), cool (outside of oven and tub) for an hour, remove from pan and refrigerate.
 
This pumpkin cheesecake got devoured so fast at Living Hope Church that I almost missed out on an opportunity to try and (importantly) evaluate the taste of this latest prototype myself. However, I noticed that there were almost no sweet alternatives (at least by the time I got to the food table) for that Sunday, which was the first one in, of all months, October, which itself may have been an additional reason (it was that pumpkin-oriented time of year) for the cheesecake's quick disappearance.

But I did get to taste it after all, and I felt that this one was great. I could indeed taste the pumpkin. The tartness seemed just about right. So Prototype 4 was ultimately a "smashing pumpkin" success.
 
Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 5:
 
The last pumpkin prototype was so good that I was moved to double the recipe for a later Living Hope event. Meanwhile, I had made a terrific improvement on my plain cheesecakes (see Baked Plain Cheesecake—Prototype 10 for more info), and my usage of arrowroot, as a partial alternative to flour, in the plain-flavored ones is reflected in the latest, "pumped-up" pumpkin provided here.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 2 pounds of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 16 ounces (1 pint) of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
4 oz. pumpkin butter (such as from Trader Joe's)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2.2 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Pour this crust mixture into pan (9 to 9 1/2 inches) and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
4 tablespoons melted or softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
14 oz. pumpkin butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups (40 oz.) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Pour on top of crust. Bake in tub at 300 degrees for 105 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then cool down while still in oven (with this oven shut off) and in tub with door slightly ajar for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 105 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 5 Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 5 (sliced)

Because of this being a double-sized recipe, longer cooking times were involved here. What would be a good suggestion for a single-size? Halve the ingredient list for starters. But what about baking? Even though I have not tried it with the very first instance of Prototype 5, perhaps using Prototype 4's baking methods would be the way to go. In other words:

1. Pre-bake the crust mixture for only 5 minutes.
2. Bake the cheesecake for only 60 minutes, then remove from oven and tub—skip the in-oven, door-ajar cooldown.
3. Cool at room temperature for only an hour, then refrigerate.

For the sake of convenience, the single-sized recipe is available here.

Okay, so I made a double-sized cheesecake compared to Prototype 4, which itself did not have enough competition. In light of my serving Prototype 5 at one of the bigger Living Hope food events—a pastor appreciation potluck—thus competing with plenty of other sweet treats, I had some second thoughts about going with the bigger size.

I ended up not regretting this size. With the main course at this church meal hardly even being halfway over (and likely more than half the people still being lined up for this course), this cheesecake was already more than halfway gone from the dessert table! Maybe some of the congregants opted for a head start due to concern about missing out on this dessert after what happened with Prototype 4 (perhaps one could hardly blame them, especially those who never got a piece of that earlier cheesecake). Back then I felt particularly bad for Gaynell, so I let her enjoy a little bit of my Prototype 4 slice. But this time, she was able to get a decent serving of Prototype 5, for which she had a very enthusiastic reaction (a display of two-thumbs up, if I remembered correctly).

This pumpkin cheesecake may have gotten off to a fast start (which got me concerned about a repeat blowout like with Prototype 4), but it slowed down later in the meal. But with only one slice left of this big cheesecake, I felt that this one was another "smashing pumpkin". The timing (late October, in 2012) may have been a factor as well.

I got so many favorable comments, and I myself felt that there was hardly any reason to keep on changing the formula. The presence of the tartness seemed to be more "feel" than taste, at least to me personally. However, although this thick cheesecake was stable enough, I thought that it probably could have been a little more firm. More specifically, I reasoned that an additional 15 minutes at 300 degrees—and another 15 minutes at room-temperature cooldown—should be considered for next time if going big like this. That's 2 solid hours apiece to bake and to room-cool, plus an intervening hour of door-ajar cooling in the oven—a five-hour stretch! Inasmuch as I ended up going with the 105 minutes indicated above for this recent prototype, I made that choice after some wavering.
 
Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 5, at dessert table ("For Your Information"/"Scan me!")
 
Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 6:
 
Not much has changed for this latest prototype. There is an All-Bran-related change, and the salt is omitted. This October 2013 update reflects what I have done with other cheesecake flavors earlier in that year.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 2 pounds of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 16 ounces (1 pint) of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
4 oz. pumpkin butter (such as from Trader Joe's)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Pour this crust mixture into pan (9 to 9 1/2 inches) and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
4 tablespoons melted or softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
14 oz. pumpkin butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot
5 cups (40 oz.) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Pour on top of crust. Bake in tub at 300 degrees for 105 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then cool down while still in oven (with this oven shut off) and in tub with door slightly ajar for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 105 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 6

This cheesecake was one smashing pumpkin, although there was not a big snack selection (hence not much food competition) at Living Hope. But the crowds were small (hence less people to feed), due to many women being away on a church-related retreat. Because of that getaway, I myself had to cut the cheesecake and bring it into the fellowship hall, a time-consuming process (if I wanted to do the slicing right) which I did not carry out until after services. But despite the late arrival at the serving table (thus giving other treats an earlier start) and the small crowds, this one was gone in what seemed to be less than half an hour. Happy October!
 
Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 7:
 
Fall has arrived in 2015! This latest pumpkin update is based upon my major cheesecake batter overhaul earlier that year.
 
3-Cheese Blend (1CT-1NC-4YG):
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
4 oz. pumpkin butter (such as from Trader Joe's)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture in a greased 9 1/2" (or 9") pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
1 cup granulated sugar
14 oz. pumpkin butter
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (5 tablespoons altogether) arrowroot
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil at this point (no earlier, for the sake of minimal foil disturbance), then pour the batter on top of the crust. Bake in hot water tub at 300 degrees for 105 to 115 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan—also see comments below). Then cool down while still in oven (with this oven shut off) and in tub with door slightly ajar for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 105 to 115 minutes (see comments below), then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 7

Another one with a smashing, great taste! I served this one at my Home Depot workplace, where it went over well. For that one, I went with 105 minutes for both the oven baking and room cooling times. I somehow ended up sensing that the batter could use more firmness.

So in repeating this prototype, I decided to oven-bake and room-cool at 115 minutes apiece (in addition to, of course, the 60 minutes of in-the-oven cooling). The outcome was fine (not "rubbery"), and I served this cheesecake at Living Hope Church, where about 3/4 of it got taken. I then brought the rest home. A few days later, I took it to a darts event where my friend Lesa's team was shooting, and Dawne (one of the members of this team) enjoyed it extensively.

In October of 2016, I made this prototype again, but this time I spotted some pumpkin chips (Nestlé Pumpkin Spice Morsels) at a local supermarket and ended up using them for a decorative border (by adding these chips around the top surface at its outer edge shortly after taking the cheesecake out of the oven).

Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 7 (2016 repeat, with chips border)

This chipped version ended up being a "smashing pumpkin" at Living Hope. At least 7/8 of this cheesecake was gone within about 10 minutes. There were just two slices left at that point, when I needed to head off to a meeting. So I did not know about the outcome on the remainder of this pumpkin treat. I could only guess that it was promptly finished off.
 
Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 8:
 
Happy Thanksgiving! This pumpkin update of November 2017 is based primarily upon a major cheesecake overhaul that I performed earlier that year.
 
3-Cheese Blend (3CT-1NC-2YG):
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 24 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") springform pan, but do not wrap foil around it yet (see below).

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
4 oz. pumpkin butter (such as from Trader Joe's)
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
1 cup granulated sugar
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
14 oz. pumpkin butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
6 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the batter (to minimize the foil's disturbance and therefore its leakage risk, do not put it on any earlier).

Next, carefully pour the batter over the crust and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 90 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then shut off oven and cool cheesecake down while still in it (and in tub), with door slightly ajar, for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and (at this point, add a border of chips—such as pumpkin-flavored—if desired) continue to cool down at room temperature for another two hours, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Pumpkin Cheesecake—Prototype 8

To be served at my cousin's on Thanksgiving.
 

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