This spiced cheesecake makes an appearance on my Halloween table every year. Folks get a kick out of the candy web and chocolate spiders. — Bev Kotowich, Winnepeg, Manitoba
- 1-3/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (about 28 wafers)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- SPIDERWEB GARNISH:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2/3 cup water
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
- Combine wafer crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a greased 10-in. springform pan. Set aside. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Whisk in pumpkin, cornstarch, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice just until blended. Pour into crust. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Combine topping ingredients; spread over filling. Bake at 350° for 6 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan; set aside.
- For spiderwebs, draw twelve 3-in. x 2-in. half circles on a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet over top; tape both securely to work surface. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, cream of tartar and water to a boil over medium heat. Boil, without stirring, until mixture turns a light amber color and candy thermometer reads 350°. Immediately remove from the heat and stir. Cool, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until hot sugar mixture falls off a metal spoon in a fine thread.
- Using a spoon or meat fork, carefully drizzle syrup, tracing over the outlines to form spiderwebs; reheat syrup if needed. Cool completely. Place melted chocolate in a resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe 1-in. spiders onto parchment or foil; cool completely. With remaining melted chocolate, pipe two or three dots on each web; attach spiders.
- Remove sides of springform pan. Cut cheesecake; place a web on top of each slice and remaining spiders on the side. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Spiderweb Pumpkin Cheesecake in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2003, p239
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