Continuing with my Thanksgiving theme desserts, I decided to bake one of my tried and true recipes, Pumpkin Cheesecake.
The first time I made this had to be about 15 years ago. I was trying to figure out a way to bring pumpkin into the meal without going the route of a traditional pumpkin pie.
Cheesecake is one of the best types of desserts to make for any dinner party when you know you will be absolutely crazed the day of the event. You see, cheesecakes must be baked ahead of time and can be made two days ahead and kept in the refrigerator or they may be frozen a month ahead. Just remember to thaw the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.
The Pumpkin Cheesecake is a gorgeous color, thanks to the pumpkin puree. Placing toasted pecans around the top edge of the cheesecake dresses up the presentation, quite nicely.
I have tried making Pumpkin Cheesecake with graham crackers in the crust, but found it to be too boring. Using store bought ginger snap cookies allows you to add a wow factor without having to spend a great deal of time preparing. I found myself adding a cookie to the crust and then treating myself to a cookie. I kept that pattern going for quite some time, since the cookies are deceptively addictive.
If you happen to be thinking that a cheesecake is too heavy to serve after Thanksgiving dinner, please reconsider. Pumpkin Cheesecake really is a very light, creamy cheesecake. Putting it another way, if your guests are too full to finish the entire cheesecake, it means there is more for you to enjoy over the long weekend. That is a win/win in my book.
- 4 cups ginger snap cookies
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 – 8 ounces packages cream cheese
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1-1/3 cups pumpkin puree
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 24 pecan halves, toasted
- For the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Set aside a 10” cake pan.
- Place the cookies and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse on/off until the cookies are finely crumbled. Add the melted butter and process until well mixed. Set aside.
- For the filling:
- Place the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed until blended.
- Spray a 10” cake pan with cooking spray (I use Pam). Transfer the crust into the pan and using the palm of your hand, spread the crust evenly over the bottom of the pan. Pour the filling into the crust.
- Bake at 325° for 50 minutes. Cool completely on a cooling rack and then refrigerate overnight.
- To remove the cake from the pan, cover a 12” cake board round with plastic wrap. Place the cheesecake in a larger pan. Fill halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan with very warm water. Let sit for about 20 seconds. Take cheesecake out of the water and dry the pan. Cover with the 12” covered cake board and turn upside down. Tap firmly once or twice against the countertop to loosen the cake from the pan. Remove the cake pan. Place a serving plate or 10” cake board over the bottom of the cheesecake and turn rightside up.
- For the topping:
- Evenly place the pecan halves around the edge of the cheesecake.
- Betsy's tidbit:
- Think of the face of a clock when placing the pecans on the cheesecake.