Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
Have I got a special treat for you today – a pumpkin cheesecake recipe! With fall in the air (even here in New Orleans!), I start to get the craving for all things pumpkin. Additionally, not having many dessert recipes on this blog, I decided it was high time to remedy that. And thus this is how I got to creating a pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Pretty simple.
Full disclosure – this is the first cheesecake I’ve made in about 10 years. I was so pleased with the way it came out. Best news is that this cheesecake is pretty easy to make. The only downside is that it has to cool for a total of 6 hours. I must say though that it is totally worth the wait. So delicious.
After studying and looking over many recipes for pumpkin cheesecake, I realized that the ingredients list can be very flexible. Below is what I chose as my proportions and ingredients. However, what I was not quite as sure about was the proper baking method. I knew I didn’t want a cheesecake with huge cracks in the top, and I didn’t want to deal with a water bath, so I turned to one of my most trusted sources – Martha Stewart. The method I use below is Martha’s method for pumpkin cheesecake – especially where it come to the baking (temperature, timing).
This cheesecake is rich, but it’s not dense. Using the proper method with the mixer ensured that I had a light and fluffy cheesecake. The key to a light and fluffy cheesecake is to make sure both the cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature before you add them to the mixer. Yes, this adds more time to the front end of the preparations, but again, taking the extra time to do something right results in a far superior product.
Another key to this recipe coming out well visually (i.e. – no cracks in the cake) is to not over mix the batter. You want to keep your mixer on a low speed so as not to over-agitate the ingredients. Also, be sure to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl regularly to ensure that all ingredients mix as throughly as possible.
Also, as tempted as you might be to check on your cheesecake, do not open the oven at all after you stick the cheesecake in. When you pop the cheesecake in, close the door, and do not open it for nearly three hours. The cheesecake will bake for 45 minutes then you’ll turn the oven off, and let the cheesecake cool an additional two hours. Allowing the cheesecake to cool slowly in a well-regulated temperature environment is how to ensure you don’t get cracks in your cheesecake.
A final technique caveat. To me the most torturous part of all this is the 4 hours you have to wait after the cheesecake is removed from the oven. It’s necessary but gah, torture. Oh and remember to chill the cheesecake with the springform pan mold on. It will be messy business if you try to take it off before the cheesecake has set. You see, cheesecake isn’t complicated at all, but it is very process driven.
Now that we’ve discussed proper technique, let’s look at some of our ingredients. The ingredients for the crust are pretty standard. I used whole graham crackers and used the food processor to make crumbs. I like this method better because the crumbs are fresher. I added a little cinnamon to the mixture to give it some extra flavor.
For the cheesecake batter, I used spices standard to a pumpkin pie. Feel free to substitute other ingredients that you might like better. I also added a half cup of sour cream to this recipe for a little extra tanginess. I did not have the sour cream at room temperature because it is a fairly liquidy ingredient to start with.
Finally, let’s talk equipment. You will need a springform pan for this. It’ll be near impossible to remove this from a regular cake pan and keep it in one piece. Although, if you really don’t care what the finished product looks like, and you don’t have a springform pan, you technically can use a regular cake pan. Just know you’ll have to cut the cheesecake into slices from inside the pan.
Alrighty, now that you’ve been briefed in all things cheesecake, on to the recipe!
- 1 1/4 c graham-cracker crumbs
- 1/2 t ground cinnamon
- 2 T light brown sugar
- 4 T melted unsalted butter
- 1-15 oz can of pumpkin purée
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1 t ground ginger
- 1/4 t ground allspice
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 3-8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 c sour cream
- 1 c light brown sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
- Combine the graham-cracker crumbs, cinnamon and brown sugar. Mix well.
- Mix in the melted butter until well-moistened.
- Press mixture into a 9" springform pan.
- Combine the first seven ingredients in the filling section in a small bowl. Mix well to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar on low speed until smooth.
- Add the pumpkin mixture, and mix just until smooth.
- Finally, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is well incorporated before adding the next one.
- Place the springform pan with the crust in it on a baking sheet.
- Pour the filling into the springform pan and gently smooth the top of the filling.
- Place in the oven, and reduce the heat to 300 ºF. Bake for 45 minutes. Do not open the oven again until the cheesecake is cooled.
- Turn off oven and let stay in oven for 2 hours (without opening oven).
- Remove from oven and cover with foil or plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold prior to serving.
Cheesecake must wait in the oven for two hours after cooking and then another four hours chilling in the fridge. Do not open the oven once you've put the cheesecake in.