Monday, December 6, 2010

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

If you're looking for a great make-ahead dessert for the holidays, look no further! Make this creamy pumpkin cheesecake, let it cool to room temperature and then wrap and freeze it, right in the springform pan if you want. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and you've got yourself an impressive dessert with no last minute prep - maybe just a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon to top it off.

This cheesecake is so creamy and light, your guests will have a hard time believing that there is even cream cheese in it. I have made this recipe using both crusts and they are both wonderful. The ginger pecan pastry crust makes the cheesecake a little more like a pumpkin pie while the gingersnap crust gives a more sandy texture to the crust which pairs nicely with the creamy spiced filling.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger-Pecan Pastry Crust or Gingersnap Crust
adapted slightly from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle

(makes one 9-inch cheesecake)

For the Ginger-Pecan Pastry Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger (or use 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger if you want a more pronounced ginger flavor)
1/3 cup pecans
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbsp cold water

For the Gingersnap Crust
1 1/2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps (I used a food processor)
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar

For the filling
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp allspice (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature (it is very important that the cream cheese be soft before you start the recipe)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 large eggs, at room temp.

Position oven rack in the center and preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x3 inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with 2-3 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Trust me, this is an important step to prevent a soggy cheesecake. Have ready a large roasting pan that the springform pan will fit into and put your teapot on the stove and start heating up some water for the water bath.

If making the ginger-pecan pastry crust:
Place the flour, sugar, salt, ginger, and pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the pecans are finely ground. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add the cold water slowly until the dough just comes together. Press the dough into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust just starts to brown. Cool crust completely on a wire rack.

If making the gingersnap crust:
Place the cookies in a food processor and process the cookies to fine crumbs. Measure out 1 1/2 cups and place them in a bowl. Add the melted butter and sugar and stir until combined. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the springform pan, pressing with the bottom of a flat-bottomed measuring cup to pack it down and make it level. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until fragrant and slightly browned.

To make the filling
Reduce oven temperature to 325F. In a bowl, whisk together pumpkin, heavy cream, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugars and beat on low speed until smooth, scraping the side of the bowl a few times as necessary. Mix in the pumpkin mixture, then add the cornstarch and mix until just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and do a final mix by hand to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour the filling in the cooled crust. Set the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large roasting pan. Carefully pour enough hot water into the large pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes until the center is set but still a bit wobbly.

Remove cheesecake from water bath to a cooling rack. Carefully remove the foil and run a thin knife tip around the edge of the cake. This will loosen the cake and help prevent the top from cracking. Cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate the cooled cheesecake overnight or freeze up to one month.


  1. Yum!! I love the idea of freezing this as it really cuts down all the last minute prep. The recipe sounds great.

  2. Ooohhh sounds yummy - with gingersnap crust. I am not a huge fan of pumpkin pie but I do love a tasty pumpkin cheesecake. I never would've thought of freezing cheesecake - how useful! You can make this well in advance.

  3. Ooooh I've made the pumpkin cheesecake before but not with a gingersnap crust!! sounds yummy!:)

  4. Ok so I really dont get the whole pumpkin pie thing. Here in NZ we have pumpkin roasted with lamb!!! BUT this recipe looks so good that I might just have to give it a go!!!

  5. Looks fantastic! We had one for Thanksgiving, but this looks like a step up!

  6. Beautiful! Great make-ahead dessert idea. We all know there's not a second to spare during the holidays. And pumpkin cheescake is one of my favorites and is always a hit.

  7. Oh my goodness!!! This looks just dangerously heavenly!



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