Yes it’s back! The PSL craze! I had to jump on and ride it another few times anyway. This is what you make whenever you have extra pumpkin puree (and if you don’t, just go out and buy a can!). Not pumpkin pie filling, but puree. There are so many applications for pumpkin puree, but this one takes the cake – cheesecake that is!

Brûléed Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake, is all about the brûlée you know! That crispy crust that takes any dessert from great to WOW! Recipe is simple enough, nothing too complicated or complex. I used the ready-made pumpkin spice mix and an extra teaspoon of cinnamon. Espresso powder diluted in about 1 tbsp. of hot 35% cream also made for a smooth taste. I made this twice and while I wasn’t thrilled with the first try, I knew I could make it better with a few changes. So, here it is. Post Thanksgiving, a wonderful dessert to make for the weekend.

I like this recipe because I made it in bar form. I love that. I also used light cream cheese – that’s my secret to a cheesecake that doesn’t leave you stuffed, but most definitely leaves you satisfied. I cut the 9 x 13” cheesecake into 15 pieces, then halved that so I ended up with 30 triangles. Remember that story about my Chef telling me my cheesecake slices were too big (and accordingly taking marks off me in my final exam) – yes Chef Josh, I remember that! After a heavy meal – buffet style of course preceded only by the hors d ‘oeuvres and wine to set the tone, these were the perfect size, he was right.

Brulee’ing wasn’t difficult at all. I cut the cheesecake into pieces, sprinkled liberally with fine white sugar and used my mini blowtorch to get the top crispy. Don’t have a blowtorch? You can use the broiler in your oven, just make sure it is really hot, you don’t want to melt the cheesecake, just the sugar. Quick broil and you are done. If it takes more than a minute, your oven isn’t hot enough. But go out and buy the torch, there are a number of things you can use it for in the kitchen.

Serve this with a dollop of sweetened cream, whipped to a thick custard/soft peak stage– not into stiff peaks, save that for fruit. As always – enjoy!

For the crust
1 box – Peak Frean Lifestyle Cookies – I used the Blueberry Bran cookies the first time, Sables the second
½ cup salted butter, melted

For the filling
2 pkgs. Light Cream cheese, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin puree – not pumpkin pie filling
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix (ready-made or make your own)
3 tbsp. Espresso instant powder
2 tbsp. 35% cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the brûléed tops
½ cup fine white sugar (or more)

Preheat the oven to 350f and spray/butter a 9×13” metal baking pan, line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on either end – set aside
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cookies to make a fine crumb
Transfer to a medium bowl, add the butter, and stir until combined
Empty the crumbs into the prepared baking dish
Using clean hands or the back of a spoon, press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan
Bake for 10 minutes, set aside
While the crust is baking and cooling, beat the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment
Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes
Add the pumpkin, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice mix, vanilla and salt, continue to beat on medium until incorporated
In the mean time, combine the instant espresso powder with 2 tbsp of cream and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds – stir until the espresso powder is dissolved and you have a thick coffee cream, add it to the mixer and mix
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat – do not over beat once you add the eggs, just until they are incorporated
Add the flour and using a spatula, combine the flour with the pumpkin mix
Pour the mixture into the cooled pan and bake for about 30 minutes
Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or longer
Once rested and cooled, cut into 15 bars with a sharp knife – make sure you dip the knife in hot water, wipe it dry and then cut – do this for every cut you make, it will ensure you clean lines when you cut the cheesecake
Top each bar with a few tablespoons of sugar and use a kitchen blowtorch to brûlée the tops
Whip up 1 cup of cream with 2 tbsp. of sugar and when almost at the soft peak stage, stop
Put the triangle on a plate, top with a healthy dollop of whipped cream
As always – enjoy!