Festive Fall Cheesecake Leaves and Pumpkins in Brilliant Autumn Colors (makes 8 cheesecakes)
butter, to coat the inside of your leaf mold
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
red, yellow, green food coloring (orange, optional) – you can use natural food coloring, if you prefer
Special Supplies Needed:
food processor or a mixing spoon
2 or 3 Wilton leaf and pumpkin silicone mold (you’ll get 8 cheesecakes, so if you want all leaves you’ll need 3 molds, otherwise you can make a few pumpkins)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butter your leaf molds. For stability, I always set my silicone molds on a baking sheet before filling them.
Make cheesecake filling:
Note: You don’t want a lot of air in this mixture, so I don’t recommend using a hand mixer.
In a bowl, pour in about a 1/4 cup of two of your cheesecake colors side by side, leaving room for the third color. Add the third color.
NOTE: You do not want to swirl your colors in the bowl nor do you want to fill one big bowl with all of the colored fillings. They will get swirled as you pour them into the leaf mold. If you were to swirl them while they were in the bowl, by the time you made a few leaves the colored would look muddy.
Use a spoon to scoop out some of your cheesecake colors from the center of the bowl. See how each of the colors is still pretty separate?
As you spoon the filling into the silicone leaf molds, the colors will swirl.
Tap the mold several times to remove excess air bubbles after each scoop of cheesecake filling you add.
Fill the mold so that it isn’t completely full, so there is room for the cheesecake leaves to expand while baking. I filled this one too full and ended up scooping some out.
You can see that I don’t have a lot of cheesecake filling left in the bowl and that is good, as it gets swirled as the spoon goes in and out of the bowl and will start to blend all together. Top it off with your three cheesecake colors and repeat the process.
If you have two molds and want to make some pumpkins with your excess cheesecake filling, mix what you have remaining together. You should get an orange color. Adjust the color using food coloring if desired. Remove a teaspoonful and put in another bowl. Add a small drop of red and a small drop of green. Mix to get brown. Use a spoon to paint the brown cheesecake filling into the stem area of the pumpkin cavity. Pour the orange cheesecake filling into the pumpkin cavity.
You should have enough cheesecake filling to make 6 leaves and two pumpkins, or any combination, you choose.
Bake your cheesecakes for 20-24 minutes until the top forms a smooth film and the center is still giggly but not wet.
Allow your cheesecakes to cool for an hour then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Carefully turn the silicone mold upside down and set it over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a cutting board and gently tug at the mold pulling it away from the cheesecake, allowing the cheesecake leaf to fall out of the mold. You will want the cheesecakes cold in order to move them onto dessert plates, so do it now, or refrigerate the tray of cheesecakes and plate them later.
NOTE: I made these leaf and pumpkin shaped cheesecakes twice while developing this project. The picture above was my first batch of cheesecake leaves and pumpkins. I wasn’t happy with all of the air bubbles and the texture of the cheesecakes were a bit dry, but I had taken all of my step-by-step pictures during this process, so I wanted you to see the first batch.
When I made the second batch, I added whipping cream to the recipe, which really made them much creamier, I intensified the colors a bit, I shortened the baking time, and I really tapped my molds to remove all the air bubbles.
They are ready to serve, but can be kept in the refrigerator for several days. Place them in an airtight container. To keep moisture from forming on your cheesecakes you can use this trick – place a piece of paper towel over the opening of your container and set the lid on top. Seal the container leaving paper towel showing all around the outside edge. Don’t lay the paper towel directly on the cheesecakes.
Allow cheesecakes to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
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