The pumpkin train just keeps on rollin’…
Last week my mom told me that she was having a get together with some friends and wanted to have a nice dessert to serve, and could I make something for her. Like the good daughter I am, I said sure. She said she wanted something fall-ish and since it would be Halloween weekend, maybe something pumpkin-y. I immediately suggested pumpkin cheesecake since I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to make one, and she loved the idea. I wanted to base the cheesecake on the recipe that I used for the Fig and Almond Cheesecake with Crème Anglaise since it is, by far, the best cheesecake I have yet to make. I made some adjustments to account for the pumpkin, added a bunch of spices and used a gingersnap cookie crust to create this one. And… it was fabulous.
The pumpkin in the recipe keeps this cheesecake light and almost gives it the consistency of a mousse or chiffon – it’s very light, smooth and airy. And fabulous. Did I mention that? The gingersnap crust pairs really well with the spices in the cheesecake and when you combine pumpkin and cream cheese, really, nothing can go wrong. This is great served with whipped cream or a caramel sauce, or both! This cheesecake would definitely be an impressive dessert to grace your Thanksgiving table, plus it can be made in advance!
For the Crust:
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about a 14-oz package of cookies)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Cheesecake:
32 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 cups (about a 15-oz can) canned pumpkin
4 eggs, at room temperature
2½ tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Double-wrap the bottom and outside of a 9-inch springform pan with heavy duty foil. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil for a water bath.
3. Beat together the cream cheese and the sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix on low until completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, cloves and allspice and mix on low to incorporate.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan into a larger pan (a roasting pan is great for this) and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until it is about halfway up the springform pan.
5. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the edges are set, but the middle still jiggles a little. Keeping the oven door closed, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven, carefully remove it from the water bath, remove the foil and place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool completely, about an additional 2 hours. Once completely cool, refrigerate for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).
6. Cover any leftover cheesecake with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Wrapped, the cheesecake can be frozen for up to 2 months.