Christian Gaborit's Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ricotta Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Shortbread, Pecan Caramel Corn, and Bourbon Caramel

Makes 48 portions

For cheesecake:

  • 50 ounces pumpkin purée
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 48 ounces cream cheese
  • 48 ounces ricotta
  • 14 ounces brown sugar
  • 16 ounces sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 ounces cornstarch
  • 4 ounces heavy cream

In a blender, blend pumpkin purée, spices, salt, and lemon juice. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, process cream cheese until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add ricotta, and mix until incorporated. Add sugar and vanilla; scrape down bowl. Add pumpkin mixture, and mix until smooth and incorporated. Slowly add eggs. Add cornstarch, followed by heavy cream. Scrape down bowl and paddle. Mix one last time.

Spray 4-ounce foil cups, and portion each with 2 ounces of the cheesecake mixture. Put in either hotel pans or roasting pans, filled with a water bath. Cover with foil, vented with holes. Start baking at 300°F for 30 minutes; lift foil to check on cheesecakes and release steam. Reseal. Turn oven up to 325°F; continue baking for 30 minutes, then another 15 minutes uncovered.

For pecan shortbread:

  • 33.5 ounces pecans, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces butter
  • 5.3 ounces brown sugar
  • 5 ounces sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Finely grind nuts in a food processor. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars, and vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix until it forms a dough. Chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut with #70 plastic ring cutter and chill again for 10 minutes.

Bake at 325°F for 4 minutes; turn the tray 180° and bake another 4 minutes.

For caramel corn:

  • 12 ounces chopped pecan
  • 7 ounces popcorn kernels
  • 19.5 ounces brown sugar
  • 12 ounces butter
  • 12 ounces corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder

In a food processor pulse until pecans are in small pieces. Set aside.

In a large, taller pot, place popcorn kernels and just enough oil to coat (about 1½ –2 ounces). Start uncovered on high, occasionally stirring. Once kernels begin to pop, cover immediately (with sheet pan) and turn down heat to medium. Hold sheet pan and shake pot back and forth over flame. When popping starts to die down, turn flame to low, and continue moving pot until all popping has stopped. Pour popcorn into a mixing bowl. With hands, start sifting through popcorn, picking out any kernels or half-popped kernels that could be dangerous to eat and break a tooth. Transfer usable popcorn to a sheet tray, lay evenly and set aside.

Prepare a large bowl with a generous coating of pan spray, two sheet pans lined with silpats, and preheat oven to 200°F. Add popcorn and nuts to bowl; mix together.

In a 4-quart pot, cook brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup to 280°F. When caramel is ready, stir in baking soda, salt, and vanilla powder. It should turn pale and fluffy immediately and almost have an airy marshmallow appearance. Immediately pour over popcorn and start mixing right away. Mix until caramel is evenly distributed and popcorn is fully coated.

Split mixture between two sheets trays and spread to one flat layer, making sure to have some gaps but keeping everything connected, somewhat lace-like. Bake in oven at 200°F for 45 minutes. Once done, pull out of oven, and let cool completely. As soon as it's cooled, wrap tightly. Note: don't wait too long to wrap; otherwise it will get soggy.

For bourbon caramel:

  • 500 grams sugar
  • 75 grams bourbon
  • 850 grams heavy cream
  • 75 grams butter
  • ½ vanilla bean

Mix the sugar and bourbon over medium heat in a small saucepan and stir just until the sugar dissolves. Heat until a candy thermometer registers 320°F. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream, butter, and vanilla bean. Return to low heat and whisk until smooth. Let cool until the caramel is thick enough to coat a spoon.

To serve:

  • ½ ounce pecan shortbread
  • 1 4-ounce portion pumpkin cheesecake
  • 1 ounce pecan caramel corn
  • ¼ ounce pecan crumble
  • 1 ounce vanilla bean gelato
  • ¼ ounce bourbon caramel

Place pecan shortbread on the plate and top with pumpkin cheesecake. Place pecan caramel corn atop cheesecake. Use pecan crumble alongside the cheesecake and spoon gelato atop the crumble. Drizzle with bourbon caramel.

Christian Gaborit

Filini Bar and Restaurant