Pumpkin spice and cheescake — happy together

  • Pumpkin cider cheesecake at The Roost in Northampton Gazette Staff/LISA SPEAR

Staff Writer
Published: 10/21/2016 3:26:31 PM

Editor’s note: In this monthly column writer Lisa Spear indulges her sweet tooth by sampling desserts made at area restaurants.

Happiness can come in cheesecake form.

When I saw the pumpkin cider variety sitting behind the glass at The Roost, the coffee house in downtown Northampton, I knew what I needed in that moment.

That nearly two-inch-thick piece of pumpkin-spiced bliss, encased in a crumbly, cookie crust, did not let me down.

Its slight orange hue hints at the key spices associated with pumpkin pie: nutmeg and cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice. But the addition of sweet apple cider gives this cheesecake its own identity.

From Pine Hill Orchard in Colrain, the cider is boiled down into syrup before it is mixed with pumpkin puree, cream cheese, eggs and sugar.

“It’s smooth like pumpkin pie,” said Baker Rosemary Dennis, but it is definitely cheesecake. “There is no secret ingredient.”

The final result is a rich, super sweet cake, which, if you aren’t careful could give you a sugar hangover. It might be wise to eat half and save the rest for later.

Each autumn, Dennis features a pumpkin cheesecake that’s just a bit different from the one she made the year before. 

Last year she offered a pumpkin caramel cheesecake.

This year’s twist is the apple flavor.

“It’s what’s going on right now. It’s the two big things in New England: pumpkin and cider,” she said. “You’ve got to keep it interesting.”

During the season, The Roost goes through about four of these cheesecakes in a typical week.

“We sell an awful lot of them,” she said.

The pumpkin cheesecake is part of an ever-changing assortment of desserts that the café has on display. The chocolate stout cake is a classic. There are also carrot and coconut cakes. Chocolate chunk cookies make frequent appearances.

Other types of cheesecakes that might make entrances in the coming months include espresso or a mocha flavors.

Though pumpkin-spice seems to be injected into just about everything these days — from chocolate truffles to breakfast cereal — it is well-suited to cheesecake. Dennis’ creation is well worth going out of your way to try.

Have you discovered a confection at a local eatery that makes you want to skip the main course? Email Lisa Spear can be reached at Lspear@gazettenet.com.



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