Caramelized White Chocolate and Pumpkin Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy Voltaggio Brothers
Show: Williams-Sonoma Specials Episode: Voltaggios Take On: Thanksgiving
TOTAL TIME: 5 hr 45 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive Prep: 3 hr
Cook: 2 hr
YIELD: 12 to 15 servings
LEVEL: Difficult


  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
    • 2 cups Pureed Roasted Butternut Squash, recipe follows
    • 10 1/2 ounces Caramelized White Chocolate, recipe follows
      • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1 orange, peeled and segmented
      • Special equipment: blow torch
        • 10 1/2 ounces white chocolate
        • 1 cup heavy cream
        • Special equipment: vacuum seal bag, vacuum sealer and pressure cooker
          recipe tools


          Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

          For the pie crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the melted butter by folding it in with a spatula. Press the crust mixture down flat into the baking sheet. Set aside.

          For the filling: Using a paddle attachment in a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese until it is light in texture. In a separate large bowl, combine the eggs, yolks, sugar, flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla bean seeds. Once combined, pour the mixture into the cream cheese and blend on a slow speed until combined. Add the Pureed Roast Pumpkin and combine until smooth. Drizzle in a couple of tablespoons of the Caramelized White Chocolate.

          Once the pumpkin mixture has fully combined, pour it over the prepared crust, then swirl the remaining Caramelized White Chocolate into the pumpkin mixture.

          Bake the cheesecake uncovered until set, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, until set and completely cold.

          To serve, cut the cheesecake into desired portion size and shape. Mix together the creme fraiche and ground cinnamon until combined. Shape into quenelles (using a teaspoon, scoop the creme fraiche and, with another teaspoon, shape it into an oval or football shape) and place it on top of the cheesecake. Dust the orange segments with granulated sugar. Using the blow torch, brown the sugar until it is bubbly. Place the sugared orange segments on each piece of cheesecake and grate a little cinnamon over the top.

          Propane gas torches are highly flammable and should be kept away from heat, open flame, and prolonged exposure to sunlight. They should only be used in well-ventilated areas. When lighting a propane gas torch, place the torch on a flat, steady surface, facing away from you. Light the match or lighter and then open the gas valve. Light the gas jet, and blow out the match. Always turn off the burner valve to "finger tight" when finished using the torch. Children should never use a propane gas torch without adult supervision.
          Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

          Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the squash halves on the tray and cook until fork tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Once slightly cooled, remove the flesh from the peel. Place the flesh in a food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a small, nonstick saute pan. Add the garam masala and mix together. Over medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a spatula, cook the puree until it releases its water and thickens, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
          Place the white chocolate in a vacuum seal bag. Vacuum seal according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add 4 cups of water to a pressure cooker, then place the sealed bag inside. Close the pressure cooker and lock. According to manufacturer's instructions, bring the pressure cooker up to full steam, and cook 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the chocolate is brown in color.

          Remove the chocolate from the sealed bag and transfer to a medium saucepan. Over medium-low heat, whisk in the heavy cream until completely smooth. Adjust the heat and continue whisking until all of the lumps smooth out. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

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