No-bake Pumpkin, Ginger and Amaretto Cheesecake is a light and refreshing dessert.
It’s that time of the year when pumpkin is everywhere. The versatile pumpkin which is suitable for both sweet and savory creations. On social media feeds everything’s orange, the color of autumn and yes…Halloween.
My daughter is crazy for Halloween, she even prefers it to Christmas. Now, if you’re from the US you might not find that odd. But in Italy we do not celebrate All Saints in the same way. In the last few years Halloween has grown more and more popular, especially amongst kids.
I sometimes wonder what kids around here love so much about this festivity. Is it the trick or treat tradition? Is it because kids love to dress up? Or is it the “scary” which is frightening and fascinating at the same time?
With reference to Halloween there is a story that really stuck with me. It doesn’t have anything to do with the recipe nor Halloween.
So if you wanna jump directly to the recipe click the handy button below:(avoid being buttonholed)
The following story is a typical example of how some ideas, even when not true, can become ingrained in our minds. Helped by evocative images, these ideas tend to stick even if they turn out to be a total hoax.
An example is the story of razor blades hidden in halloween candies to hurt kids. This belief developed in the US during the industrial revolution, although at the time it was about poisoned sweets. The belief came back with a vengeance in the 60’s and 70’s and razor blades took the place of poison.
An American sociologist conducted a study putting together newspaper articles from 1958 to 1983 that could be connected to the phenomenon.
As you might expect the result was that there was not even one true case of razor blades hidden in candies to hurt children.
The very few instances attributable to this occurrence were in most cases staged by the kids themselves to gain attentions. So it turned out to be a myth.
How did this blief manage to become so widespread? So widespread that some American states passed laws to punish whoever tampers food to hurt children.
In this case the main factors that contributed to the growth of the myth were the use of strong emotions such as fear, together with shocking mental images, like a blade sticking out of a candy.
Made to Stick
All this is superbly explained in the book “Made to Stcik” where the author Dan and Chip Heath explain why some ideas work (and stick) whereas some other go. In fact the subtitle is “Why some ideas survive and others die”.
There’s no exact formula the create ideas that stick but there are some guidelines. In particular the authors talk about 6 common traits for ideas that stick.
In order to work (and stick) an idea should be:
- Tell a story
You might be asking: what does this have to do with the recipe? Nothing.
No, in fact it does. For a content creator it is interesting to understand why some ideas work more than others. And which techniques can influence the way a concept can break through the minds of the recipients. Maybe I am not a true content creator but this stuff fascinates me.
Without further delay, let’s get to the recipe of this no-bake pumpkin, ginger and amaretto cheesecake.
I stumbled upon this combination in my favorite gelato shop in Florence. And if you ever come to Florence I strongly suggest you try what I believe is the best gelato in town: Gelateria Perché No!.. in via de Tavolini (in the center, near Piazza della Signoria).
This historical shop does not need my advertising, it is hands down my fav place for gelato. They follow seasonality and this flavor is a typical example.
In this case I try to recreate the flavor in a no bake cheesecake. It is light, fresh and easy to make.
I liked it so much that I am already planning a “New York” version (baked).
EDIT: here is the recipe of the Pumpkin, Ginger and Amaretto New York Cheesecake.
No-bake Pumpkin Ginger and Amaretto Cheesecake
For the crust:
- 90 g butter, melted 3.2 oz
- 70 g amaretto biscuits 2.5 oz
- 70 g sweet biscuits, generic 2.5 oz
For the ginger flavored cheese cream:
- 200 g spreadable cheese 7 oz
- 100 g ricotta 3.5 oz
- 120 g mascarpone 4.2 oz
- 90 confectioner sugar 3.2 oz
- 200 g whipping cream 7 oz
- ginger a piece of roughly 5 cm 2 in
- 10 g gelatin sheets, approx 2 0.35 oz
For the pumpkin puree:
- 350 g pumpkin pulp 12.3 oz
- 7 g gelatin sheets, approx 1 e ½ 0.24 oz
- 2 tbsp confectioner sugar
- Peel the pumpkin, cut it into pieces and steam it to make it soft. I did it in the microwave with the specific steamer: max power (mine was 700 W) for 13 minutes. Alternatively it can be cooked in a pot with the steam basket for 15 minutes. Yet another option is to bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Blend in the mixer.
- Heat 50g of cream. Peel and grate the ginger. Add it to the cream. Leave in infusion for 10 minutes. Filter the cream through a strainer and set aside.
- Combine the crushed biscuits (both amaretto and generic) together with the melted butter and mix well.
- Cover the bottom of a 20 cm springform pan with baking paper. Pour the biscuits into the pan and level with a spoon.
- Cover the sides of the pan with the pastry tape (or alternatively with a stripe of baking paper).
For the cheese cream:
- Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 10 minutes.
- Using a handheld mixer beat the mascarpone cheese together with the sugar. Add the ricotta and the spreadable cheese. Mix.
- Put the ginger flavored cream in a small pot on low heat.
- When it is hot (around 50° C / 122° F) remove from heat and add the wrung gelatin. Stir to dissolve.
- Let it to cool down until it reaches the temperature of 29° C (84° F). If the gelatin is too hot it will create lumps when in contact with the cold cream.
- When the cream reaches the right temperature add it to the cheese cream and blend at high speed with the handheld.
- Mount the remaining cream (150g / 5.3 oz).
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the cheese cream.
- Pour into the springform pan and level with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
For the pumpkin puree:
- In order to have a smooth puree mix the pulp in the immersion blender together with a couple of tbsp of confectioner sugar.
- Soak the 2 gelatin sheets in cold water.
- Put a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree in a small pot together with two tablespoons of water on low heat. When it is how remove from heat and add the wrung gelatin sheets. Stir to dissolve.
- Pour the pumpkin puree in the pan (only once the cream has stabilized). Level with a spatula if needed.
- Place in the fridge at least 3 hours before serving.