De La Grana (Pumpkin-Onion) Cheesecake

April 4, 2011

in American,Cheesecakes,Italian,Recipes

De La Grana Cheesecake

Boy do I have something totally out of the box for you today. Get ready to be blown away by this cheesecake!

Let’s roll back the hands of time a bit… the Month – June, the Year – 2010. I received an email from Casey regarding my assignment for this month’s Progressive Party over at Kitchen Play.

Now, if you haven’t heard about or participated in Kitchen Play it’s a cool interactive web site that was created by Casey of Tastestopping. She came up with the brilliant idea of connecting food bloggers and PR professionals through sponsored events, and the best part you also get to play along and win prizes!

Each month a new Progressive Party is announced, and six food bloggers are assigned (challenged & put to the test) to incorporate the same product or kitchen tool into six different courses.

This month’s Kitchen Play Sponsor is the National Onion Association. I had the pleasure of meeting their Director of PR, Kim Reddin early last year when I attended Camp Blogaway, and we actually had thrown some ideas around about coming up with an onion-themed dessert.

Well, once I found out she had specifically asked to work with me during this month’s Kitchen Play I was totally up for the challenge.

Sweet Spring Onions

So here we are. Talk about a challenge right? Onions and Dessert? Unheard of!!! Well, perhaps… that is until now.

Thinly sliced Sweet Spring Onions

Now about the Kitchen Play contest, should you care to be daring and adventurous enough to play along this month and give this baby a try, all you have to do is post about this recipe on your own blog and one of you will randomly be chosen to win $100.00. Pretty sweet right!! Check Kitchen PLAY for complete contest rules.

A few final thoughts on this dreamy cheesecake…

I was completely blown away at how well the sweet spring onions played along with the pumpkin puree. I also came to realize, onions are just as versatile as pumpkins. In addition to it’s infinite number of implementations in savory cuisine, we can now add sweet to the list.

Through the magic of caramelizing this cheesecake has become the poster child representing a perfect balance between sweet and savory.

Papi y Yo

Because I thought this cheesecake was so original and amazing. I decided to give it a special name, my maiden name in honor of my father.

Could we be looking at the new New York Cheesecake?

De La Grana (Pumpkin-Onion) Cheesecake

Crunchy Candied Onions
1 small sweet spring onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons demerara sugar (or any other natural brown sugar) to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray or use a silicone mat.

Peal and slice onion with a mandolin to 1/8″ thickness, you’ll need 9 slices.

Carefully transfer the onion slices onto the prepared baking sheet, brush them with butter, and evenly sprinkle them with the pumpkin pie spice and sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until onions are golden brown and slightly toasted. Make sure you keep an eye on them so they don’t “toast” too much. ;)

Crust
1/3 cup crunchy candied onion, cooled and crushed
6 graham cracker sheets
1/3 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Double wrap a springform pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.

In a food processor combine all the dry ingredients and process until you have a fine crumb, pour in melted butter and pulse a few times just until the crust comes together.

Cover the base of the springform pan with the crust and set aside.

Caramelized Onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 sweet spring onion, finely diced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Melt butter in a medium sauté pan, add diced onion and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes or until the onions have been completely caramelized.

Spread the caramelized onions over a silicone mat, or parchment paper to cool.

Once they have cooled spread them evenly over the prepared crust.

Filling
3 packages of cream cheese (8 ounce), room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have an oven-safe dish or pan big enough to contain the springform pan ready for a water bath.

In the bowl of a stand mixer whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy 3-5 minutes on medium speed.

Add eggs one at a time and mix on low speed just until combined.

Add remaining ingredients and mix until evenly combined.

Pour the filling over the caramelized onions.

Place the cheesecake inside the larger pan and place in the oven, with a measuring cup fill the larger pan half-way up with water.

Bake cheesecake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until center is set. Remove cheesecake from water bath and allow to come to room temperature.

Once cheesecake has cooled place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

One more thing I’d like to mention, if you are planning on joining the progressive party and plan on making this cheesecake, the Texas sweet onion is the only sweet onion currently in the marketplace, the rest will be coming out towards the end of April. Here’s a great link with more information on the Texas sweet onion and it’s history.

Kitchen Play April Menu Sponsored By the National Onion Association

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