Brown Butter Graham Cheesecake

Brown Butter Graham Cheesecake
A recipe from Christina Tosi

Ingredients for Brown Butter Graham Crust

  • 2 ½ T sugar
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup powdered milk
  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumb
  • 4 T brown butter
  • 2 ¼ T heavy cream

Ingredients for Liquid Cheesecake

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 egg

Ingredients for Pumpkin Ganache

  • 5 ¼ ounces white chocolate
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T glucose
  • ¼ cup cold heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup Libby’s pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Ingredients for Pumpkin Dough Crumb

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 8 T (1 stick) butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1 ½ T water

Directions for Brown Butter Crust

1. Toss the graham crumbs, sugar, milk powder and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.


2. Whisk the brown butter, and heavy cream together.  Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute.  The butter will act as a glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters.  The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand.  If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons butter and mix it in.

Directions for Liquid Cheesecake

1. Heat the oven to 300°F.


2. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.


3. Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous.


4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry.  Paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.


5. Line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap.  Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes.  Gently shake the pan.  The cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center.  If the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more.  And 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more than 25 minutes to underbake one.  If the cheesecake rises more than a ¼ inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.


6. Cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set.  The final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume.  Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up 1 week.

Directions for Pumpkin Ganache

1.  Combine the white chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe dish and gently melt them in the microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring between blasts.  The result should be barely warm to the touch and totally homogenous.


2.  Transfer the chocolate mixture to a container that can accommodate an immersion blender – something tall and narrow, like a 1-quart plastic deli container.  Warm the glucose in the microwave for 15 seconds, then immediately add the chocolate mixture and buzz with the hand blender.  After a minute, stream in the heavy cream, with the hand blender running – the mixture will come together into something silky, shiny, and smooth.


3.  Blend in the pumpkin puree, salt, and cinnamon.  Put the ganache in the fridge to firm up before using, at least for 4 hours, or, ideally, overnight.  Stored in an airtight container, pumpkin ganache will keep fresh in the fridge for 1 week.  Serve cold.

Directions for Pie Dough Crumb

1. Heat the oven to 350°f.


2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until well mixed.


3. Add the butter and water and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.


4. Spread the clusters on a parchment- or silpat- lined sheet pan. bake for 25 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should be golden brown and still slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool.


5. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. Stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer

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