Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. In a plastic bag, smash the ★ cookies finely with a rolling pin. Microwave the ★ butter.
In a bowl, mix the crushed cookies and melted butter. Line a tart pan with parchment paper, spread out the cookie mixture and press down over plastic wrap.
When the crust is evenly spread out and pressed, chill in the refrigerator. If you have any cookie mixture left over, chill in a heatproof container.
Cut the de-seeded kabocha into bite sized pieces, wrap with plastic wrap and microwave until soft. Remove the skin and pass the rest through a strainer to puree it.
Cut out the Jack-O'-Lantern face with the kabocha squash peel. Cut the peel into rectangular strips first before making triangles and squares.
In a bowl, whip the softened cream cheese until smooth, and sift in the sugar while mixing constantly.
Beat the eggs and add to the cheese mixture little by little. Add the pureed kabocha squash from Step 4 and mix well. Add cake flour and mix again.
Add the cream, lemon juice, and rum, in that order. Add melted butter at the end. Preheat the oven to 360F/180C.
Take the tart pan with the cookie crust out of the refrigerator. Scatter chocolate chips (if you add too many, the cake will lose its kabocha squash flavor).
Pour the cheesecake batter. Carefully place the Jack-O'-Lantern facial features from Step 5 on the surface, keeping in mind that you will be cutting the cake into 8 pieces.
Bake for 45 minutes. When a bamboo skewer poked in the middle comes out clean, it's done. Cool, and refrigerate overnight.
When it's completely chilled and firm, take it carefully out of the pan and slice with a warm knife (wipe off the blade after every cut for clean cuts).
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to make a cute cake for a Halloween party.
I decorated the cake with Jack-O'-Lantern faces for Halloween, but you can also decorate it with ribbons, stars, or whatever you like, so use the peels to make cute decorations. I made a marbled pattern in the middle using melted chocolate (see Photo 10), but it didn't come out too well after baking, so you should just ignore that. If it looks like the cake is getting burned on top, cover with a sheet of foil.