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.

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.

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!")

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