Deluxe Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkins are everywhere right now. No matter where you look, you can see them. Their jolly orange faces are peeking out at us in the grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farm stands. They seem to be the symbol of harvest. I’m looking forward to taking some happy toddlers to a pumpkin patch someday, (hopefully next year) to enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather and bring back some of these flaming beauties.

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, so this time of year I always make a pumpkin cheesecake. Ever since I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine, it has graced our table every autumn. Both cheesecakes and pumpkin pies are creamy, velvety and luscious but when they are both combined, the flavor combination is AMAZING.  This is a perfect dessert for Thanksgiving, but I keep a stash of pumpkin puree and continue making it until it runs out, since it’s SO delicious. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap a 9 inch springform pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and spray the inside of the pan with baking spray. Place the gingersnap cookies in a food processor and pulse until they are crushed. (You can also place them into a ziptop bag and pound with a mallet or a rolling pin to crush the cookies.)

If you’d rather use graham crackers, you’ll also need one cup crushed crackers, 8-9 whole crackers.

Crush the pecans, if using. I didn’t use pecans this time. Add the melted butter and mix to combine. (I have found that I can get away with using 2 1/2-3 Tablespoons of butter, instead of the 4 that are indicated in the original recipe.) Press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden and set. Cool. Meanwhile, mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar and cornstarch in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer until the mixture is creamy and smooth.

Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time.

In another bowl, place the canned pumpkin.

To make your own pureed pumpkin, take out the seeds and cut the pumpkin into sections. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees until you can pierce the pumpkin easily with a fork. You can also steam the pumpkin, or even cut the flesh into pieces and cook it in water until it’s soft and can be pierced with a fork or knife. Place in a food processor and pulse until the pumpkin is pureed.

Add 2 cups of the cream cheese mixture to the pumpkin puree, add the cinnamon and mix to combine.

Set aside 1 cup of the pumpkin mixture.

Pour the rest of the pumpkin mixture over the crust.

Top with the cream cheese mixture. Use a butter knife to swirl through the 2 layers. Place dollops of the reserved pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese mixture. Run the butter knife through the pumpkin dollops.

Place the springform pan into a roasting pan filled with about an inch of of hot water.

This is called a water bath. Why is it used? Cheesecakes tend to crack if they are overcooked. When the cheesecake is submerged in the hot water, it prevents the cake from rising about 212 degrees, since that is the temperature where water is converted to steam. Also, since the water evaporates, it creates a humid atmosphere inside the oven and protects the cake even more.

CONFESSION: I bake cheesecakes without the water bath most of the time, and it turns our perfectly fine. Just watch to make sure it doesn’t overcook. One other trick to check for doneness is to see when about 3 inches in the center of the cake jiggles slightly and the rest of the cake is firm. When you take the cake out of the oven, it will continue to bake and finish baking the center. As the cake cools, run an offset spatula or a knife around the edge of the cake, if it doesn’t do it naturally. This will prevent the cake from cracking as the cake cools, slightly deflates, and pulls away from the edges of the pan. If your cake still cracks, cover it will whipped cream and nobody will notice anything. It’s so delicious, no one will complain about a tiny crack:)

Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour. Serve with freshly whipped cream.


Deluxe Pumpkin Cheesecake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (about 20 cookies)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped pecans, optional
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (1/2 a stick)
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 11/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap a 9 inch springform pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and spray the inside of the pan with baking spray.
  2. Place the gingersnap cookies in a food processor and pulse until they are crushed. (You can also place them into a ziptop bag and pound with a mallet or a rolling pin to crush the cookies.) If you'd rather use graham crackers, you'll also need one cup crushed crackers, 8-9 whole crackers.
  3. Crush the pecans, if using.
  4. Add the melted butter and mix to combine. (I have found that I can get away with using 2½-3 Tablespoons of butter, instead of the 4 that are indicated in the original recipe.)
  5. Press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden and set. Cool.
  7. Meanwhile, mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar and cornstarch in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
  8. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time.
  9. In another bowl, place the canned pumpkin.
  10. To make your own pureed pumpkin, take out the seeds and cut the pumpkin into sections. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees until you can pierce the pumpkin easily with a fork. You can also steam the pumpkin, or even cut the flesh into pieces and cook it in water until it's soft and can be pierced with a fork or knife. Place in a food processor and pulse until the pumpkin is pureed.
  11. Add 2 cups of the cream cheese mixture to the pumpkin puree, add the cinnamon and mix to combine.
  12. Set aside 1 cup of the pumpkin mixture.
  13. Pour the rest of the pumpkin mixture over the crust.
  14. Top with the cream cheese mixture.
  15. Use a butter knife to swirl through the 2 layers.
  16. Place dollops of the reserved pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese mixture.
  17. Run the butter knife through the pumpkin dollops.
  18. Place the springform pan into a roasting pan filled with about an inch of of hot water.
  19. Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. ilona says

    Oh my this is such a beautiful presentation .. I love the design on top. Cheesecake is my alltime fave dessert, so will b making this soon.. Olga, how were u able to take the bottom of the Springform out when serving the cake ?? I usually serve the cake on it, because the crust sticks to it .

    • says

      Ilona, if you spray the pan with baking spray or spread it with melted butter, you shouldn’t have a problem getting the crust to come off the pan. If it’s being stubborn, just serve it the way it is:).

  2. Snezhana says

    Wow! I absolutely love pumpkin and cheesecake is my favorite so putting them together is pure heaven. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  3. Ilona says

    Olga, is the cinnamon absolutely necessary in here, or can it be omitted??? i am getting ready to make this for tomorrow, and wondering if i can skip the cinnamon :) Thanks in advance for the reply.

    • says

      No, Ilona, it’s not necessary. Use your own judgement. I like cinnamon, and think it goes really well with the pumpkin. If you don’t like it, don’t use it.

      • Ilona says

        Thank You. i ended up using cinnamon and oh boy, it was delicious. I thought that the cinnamon will overwhelm the taste but like you said it goes well with pumpkin. I love the design idea too.

  4. Yulia says

    This was ultimately the best Cheesecake that we’ve ever had! Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes and for suggestions on the “Thanksgiving Meal Planner”. It was so helpful!

    • says

      If you want to get the cake out of the pan, then it is necessary, Michelle. If it’s doesn’t matter to you, then you can use a regular cake pan.

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