Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
It's November, so naturally I've been dreaming in pumpkin. From lattes to chili, muffins, butters, ice cream and more, pumpkin is something I can't shake come fall. I buy it in bulk at the grocery store. I have Pinterest boards dedicated to pumpkin recipes. I can't carve a pumpkin that well, but I can roast the heck out of the seeds. Call me basic, but pumpkin is on my mind (and everyone else's) for a reason.
Since I've never been the biggest pumpkin pie fan, I thought it'd be fun to try a cheesecake recipe this time around. Cheesecakes have always slightly intimidated me. Maybe it's the fact that I went to high school five minutes from The Cheesecake Factory and would spend my afternoons cuddled up in a booth with Oreo Cheesecake, not even comprehending that this monstrous dessert could also be recreated at home. Once I discovered how simple cheesecakes are to make, I dabbled in various flavors, raspberry always being my favorite.
However, when I stumbled upon this Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe, I had a feeling I've found a winner. The addition of Lightly Dried Ginger to the Gingersnap Crust takes this dessert to the next level. While it's definitely time consuming to make, I can attest it's worth the wait. I will say this, though: I've never waited as long to eat a dessert than with this recipe. So, as the recipe suggests, it might be best to bake this cheesecake a day before you plan on serving it. With a drizzle of caramel sauce and a dollop of Bourbon Whipped Cream, this decadent and delicious treat is an indulgence you'll be making all season long.
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust Recipe - adapted from Once Upon A Chef
For the Gingersnap Crust
- 7 ounces gingersnaps (about 1/2 a 15oz bag)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon Lightly Dried Ginger
For the filling
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Lightly Dried Ginger
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- three 8oz packages, cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
For the Bourbon Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 1 1/4 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tablespoon bourbon (or 1 full tablespoon, depending how strong you want the bourbon flavor to be)
Place the mixing bowl (and whisk) in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. Then, remove them and place the mixing bowl in the bottom of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add all ingredients to the bowl and beat the mixture until soft peaks appear or when the cream mounds softly when dropped from a spoon. Serve immediately. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days.
For the crust
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Wrap a 9-inch springform pan twice with heavy duty aluminum foil. Pull the foil all the way up to the sides so water from the water bath does not seep inside. Spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Pulse the gingersnap cookies, sugar and lightly dried ginger in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse a few times to combine. Add the crumbs to the pan and using a glass or measuring cup, press the crumbs into an even layer. Bake until fragrant and set, about 15 minutes (mine took about 20). Cool on a wire rack.
For the filling
Bring 3 quarts of water (or enough water to fill a large roasting pan) to a simmer [this is used for the water bath]. In a small saucepan, stir together the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a sputter, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium low, stirring constantly, and cook for 5 minutes until thick, bronzed and shiny. Scrape the mixture into a food processor or a mixer with a standing bowl fitted with a metal blade and process for 1 minute with the feed tube open [if using the food processor].
With the motor running, add the cold cream. Add the cut cream cheese and process for about 30 seconds, scraping the sides if necessary or until smoothly incorporated. Add the eggs and process for about 5 seconds or until just incorporated [do not overmix!].
Set the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the batter into the cooled crust and pour enough boiling water into the large roasting pan to come up about halfway to the cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees until the cheesecake is set, about 1 1/2 hours. If it jiggles, it's not done. With my oven, it took me about an hour and 45 minutes. Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and set on a wire rack. Using a paring knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Cool until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath, remove the foil and set on a wire rack. Continue to cool at room temperature until barely warm, about 3 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, remove the outer ring from the springform pan. Slide a metal spatula between the crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide the cheesecake onto a serving platter. Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cut into wedges. Top with Salted Caramel Sauce [I used jarred] and a dollop of Bourbon Whipped Cream.