PUMPKIN RICOTTA CHEESECAKE
Crust: (2 - 8" pie pans)
2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5-1/2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (1/3 cup)
4 tablespoons shortening
4 - 5 tablespoons cold water
1-1/2 cups fresh, cooked pumpkin puree or 1 pound canned
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons dark rum
Pastry pieces in the shape of fall leaves
Milk glaze sprinkled with sugar
Crust: Mix flour with salt and sugar. Cut up the cold butter and work it into the flour until the mixture is mealy. Cut in the shortening maintaining a coarse texture. Sprinkle on the water and mix until the loose pieces come together into a rough ball of dough. Use a smearing movement to redistribute any unmixed fats. Dust the dough lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Filling: Combine the pumpkin puree, ricotta, sugar, flour, spices, and salt in the container used for the crust. Process until smooth. With the machine running add the eggs, one at a time, then the rum. Reserve.
Rolling Pie Crust, Filling, Baking: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Divide the dough in half. Place each half between pieces of plastic wrap and roll each out into a circle 1 - 1/2" wider than the rim of the pan. Lift off the top layer of plastic and turn the dough into the pie pan molding it to fit into the corner and up the sides. Gently pull off the other sheet of plastic. Trim the excess evenly but leave hanging over the sides of the pan. Gather and roll out scraps. Cut 3-4 fall leaves with a cookie cutter. Reserve.
Pour filling into the crust and lay the leaves in a decorative pattern on top. Brush the leaves and edges of the crust with milk and dust with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Lower the oven to 350 degrees and continue baking another 15 - 20 minutes until the top is puffed and set. Cool on a rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled.