Halloween is a bit of a funny one this year – it’s on a Monday. Wandering the streets of the city yesterday, I saw the oddest mix of people; regular Saturday shoppers, zombie walkers, Jokers and Harley Quinns, blood-covered doctors or nurses and many bemused onlookers. Australians have mixed feelings towards Halloween, so when it doesn’t fall on a weekend, it seems even further diluted.
That hasn’t stopped me getting into the American spirit and putting together another pumpkin recipe. It’s only mildly pumpkin-y, and the chocolate perfectly complements it. It’s great because you can still say that it counts towards your vegetable intake for the day.
Chocolate pumpkin cheesecake
- 300g digestives
- 125g melted butter
- 300g pumpkin
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1/3 tsp cardamom
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- 3 x 250g cream cheese (at room temperature*)
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 300ml thickened cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 3 ½ tsp gelatine powder
- 130g chocolate
Licorice all sorts critters
- 1 packet licorice all sorts
- Candy eyes
- 10g chocolate, melted
- 3 fizzers
Lightly grease the sides of your Delicake** mould and set to one side.
Blitz your digestives in a food processor until you’ve got a coarse crumb – pour the butter over the crumbs and mix until well combined. Pour into your cake mould and use a straight-sided glass to compact down evenly. Set in the fridge while you make the next layer.
Chop your pumpkin into slices about 1/2cm thick and pop in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of water, then cover in cling wrap and microwave for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the microwave and use a fork to mash it up. Add the brown sugar, cardamom and cinnamon to your pumpkin and set to one side to cool.
Mix your cream cheese and white sugar together until smooth and pale. Add in the thickened cream and the vanilla and mix on medium-high for 3-4 minutes. While this is mixing, grab your boiling water and mix your gelatine into it. Set to one side for two minutes to cool slightly.
Mix your gelatine into the cream cheese well, then divide the recipe in to 2/3 and 1/3 – it should be around 780ml and 390ml. You may wish to strain the mixture now if you’ve got lumps – better to remove them now than be stuck with them in the end product.
Mix your pumpkin mixture into the larger of the two cheesecake batches, scraping down the sides to ensure that the pumpkin is properly distributed.
Grab your cake mould from the fridge and pour the pumpkin mixture over the top of the base, using a spatula to help spread things out. Give it a quick wiggle to make sure the layers are as even as possible, then pop into the freezer. Leave it in there for at least 15 minutes so that it forms a good skin before you pour the next layer over.
Melt the chocolate and pour it into the remaining cheesecake mixture. Give it a good mix so that you end up with an evenly-coloured chocolate layer.
Pour it over the pumpkin layer and smooth with a spatula, then give a little jiggle. Return to the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving.
When it comes time to serve, simply whip the outer ring of your mould off and serve immediately! If you’re having issues removing the ring, grab a thin knife and run it around the edge of the mould. Lift gently and slowly until your cake is free.
Feel free to decorate this delightful dessert as you wish. I’m not one for lots of gore when it comes to Halloween food, so I made these funny little licorice all sorts critters – they’re perfect for making with kids as they’re a little bit sticky (which means good fun) but they’re not too messy (also good fun when clean up time comes!)
To assemble your little critters, slice your licorice all sorts in half and set them to one side. Cut thin slices of your fizzers and fashion them into eyebrows and mouths. Dip the eyeballs into the melted chocolate and press them onto the licorice all sorts, then do the same with the eyebrows and mouths. Leave for ten minutes to set, then attach to your desired dessert.
*TIP: if your cream cheese isn’t at room temperature, chop it into squares and pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds – this will soften it beautifully and mean that you have less lumps in the end product
** If you’ve not heard of Delicake before, you need them in your life. Their cake moulds are so simple, but such a saviour for layer-cake makers. I came across them recently and will be posting more recipes using their cake moulds in the coming weeks because they kindly sent me a mould and I’m IN LOVE with it!
If you’re after other Halloween recipes, check out these babies: