I have been making Piecakens all year long, although forgetting to write about them here. But a few days ago I made an epic Piecaken that combined all the flavours of the Holiday Season in one cake. It has the pumpkin pie, the gingerbread cookies and the Bailey's holiday cheer in each slice! So we start with a Gingerbread cookie crust, then a pumpkin pie inside an aromatic vanilla cheesecake, topped with a Bailey's milk chocolate ganache. Delicious!
To make one, start one day prior to serving, and do the following:
1. Buy a Pumpkin Pie. Or make one (you can use my pumpkin pie recipe from here). Chill in fridge while you make the other parts.
2. Make a gingerbread cookie crust.
Break up about 10 to 15 medium-large gingerbread cookies. I bought mine at a farmer's market. Either whirl them in the blender to get crumbs, or place in a Ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin or another heavy object like the back of a glass or thermos. Melt 1/3 cup butter and mix with the cookies in a medium bowl. Toss in 2 tbsp. of granulated sugar. Stir until combined. Press into the bottom of a 9" cake pan, lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 350º F. Let cool while you make the vanilla cheesecake.
3. Bake a double batch your favourite vanilla cheesecake recipe. There is a good one on the inside or back of the Philadelphia cream cheese packages. You can also use this recipe (click here) from this blog. Ensure you add one to two teaspoons of real vanilla to it the batter.
4. Assemble your cake. Pour 1/2 the batter in the bottom of the pan. Remove the pie plate from the pie then place the pie in the center of the batter, then pour the remainder of the batter on top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350º F. Check it at the 45 minute and one hour points to ensure the top is not burning. If it is getting dark (some ovens do this, this doesn't happen to me but I've seen it happen to others), cover loosely with foil, shiny side facing the cake. It is preferable not to do this, so cover only if necessary. Once baked, let cool for one hour on the stove, then overnight in the fridge.
5. Place 8 ounces of chopped good quality milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1/2 cup Baileys plus 1 tbsp. liquid whipping cream (or coffee cream if that's all you have on hand). Microwave for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If some lumps remain, add back into the microwave for 5 to 7 seconds. Stir again. Once smooth, pour the ganache over the cake. Let chill in the fridge for 1 hour before slicing.
6. Slice with a hot knife. Either pre-slice it next to the sink, running hot water over the knife between each slice (and wipe your knife also with a paper towel between each slice). This will give clean edges and help you get through the ganache without squishing the cheesecake out of the cake. It helps to hold a table knife in your opposite hand to use to hold the ganache up a little on each slide while cutting to prevent squishing (is `squishing` not a professional term? :-) ).
7. Enjoy! (and remember to wear loose pants)