Baked Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake—Prototype 1:
This was one of my most challenging cheesecakes so far, being derived from a combination of Prototype 6 of my pumpkin cheesecake and Prototype 1 of my pecan pie filling (with a little change on the flour).
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.

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. Carefully wrap the pan in heavy foil afterwards (do not wrap it earlier—otherwise, this increases leakage risks).

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

Carefully pour about half of this batter on top of the crust. Bake in tub at 325 degrees for 40 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). During this phase of the baking, prepare the pecan filling for this cheesecake.

Pecan Filling:
2 eggs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
(Tip: blend these three above ingredients first, before adding the other ones below.)
2 cups corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz. chopped pecans (about 1 cup, after chopping)

Combine all these ingredients in a saucepan before heating. Stir constantly over a roughly medium heat (not high—otherwise the mixture can easily leave a sticky, burnt residue on the bottom of the pan), bringing the mixture to a mild boil. Stir and cook carefully for about another 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Let this mixture sit until it is time to add it to the cheesecake (at which point the filling should still be at least warm enough that it spreads very easily).

After the initial 40 minutes of baking, remove the pan-and-tub assembly from the oven and carefully add just enough of the pecan filling to coat the pumpkin batter's surface (close to half of the filling—set aside the rest of it for later, as described below). Next, return the pan-and-tub assembly to the oven and resume baking at 325 degrees for another 20 minutes.

Afterwards, take this assembly out of the oven and very carefully scoop the remaining pumpkin batter on top. Then return all this to the oven, with the temperature reduced to 300 degrees, and bake for another 60 minutes. Then cool down with the pan still in the oven (with this oven shut off) and in the tub, with door slightly ajar, for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another two hours, then remove cheesecake from pan and refrigerate.

After at least a couple of hours of refrigerating the cheesecake, take the remaining pecan filling, and ensure that it is not too stiff (this can be accomplished by warming it up a little with very low heat). Carefully spread the filling on top of the cheesecake and promptly return all this to the refrigerator, allowing the filling to get more firm (thus reducing its runniness)—at least a few additional hours (or overnight) at this point—before serving this cheesecake.

Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake—Prototype 1 Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake—Prototype 1 (sliced)

I strove to avoid the pitfall of excessively stiff pecan pie filling, so I did not add any thickener to it. The filling spread easily. On the other hand, it seemed somewhat too runny—the cheesecake ended up being one of my "messiest" ones, with the filling drenching down the side and collecting at the bottom. But this prototype was very tasty, and I got quite a few compliments at Living Hope Church, where this cheesecake was served. It was almost completely gone in about half an hour. Eric—Mary Beth's husband—finished off the last slice not too long afterward.

Future options to consider: 1) Just serve the pecan filling on the side (but will too many guests "overtop" with it, wiping it out too soon?) or 2) Add a very small amount of thickener and/or mix some of the cheesecake batter with the early-installment filling (i.e., that which gets baked between the pumpkin batter layers), and—upon adding the remaining filling on top of the refrigerated cheesecake—try to confine this filling more towards the center of the top surface (also, perhaps the baking time should be increased).

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