12
Mar
09

Pumpkin cheesecake, never out of season

Sure, it’s not Fall anymore, so maybe you won’t find pumpkin in any desserts at the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some pumpkin desserts at home!  One of my friends requested a pumpkin cheesecake for this week’s bible study, so I decided to get to work.  I didn’t find a handy pumpkin cheesecake recipe in any of my books, so I decided to look online and use suggestions from egullet to modify my cheesecake recipe from Dorie’s book.

pumpkin cheesecake

pumpkin cheesecake

I finally decided on a recipe from epicurious, because it was almost identical to Dorie’s cheesecake recipe (which I love), with just some minor modifications to add the pumpkin and spices.  I also used the same original graham cracker crust I normally use in my pies.  This cheesecake is made in a 10″ springform pan, as opposed to a 9″ one like my other ones.  This is because it uses almost as much normal cheesecake filling as Dorie’s version, then adds 15 oz of canned pumpkin and spices on top of that.  That won’t fit in the 9″ version!  If you only have a 9″ springform, then I suggest reducing the amount of ingredients slightly.

If you’re having trouble with cheesecakes cracking on the surface when baking, make sure you are greasing the sides of the pans.  If the cheesecake sticks to the sides, it’s more prone to crack on the surface as it shrinks.  Also, it’s incredibly important to have the cream cheese at room temperature; I generally take it out of the fridge about 4-5 hours prior to creaming.  At that point, you can cream the cream cheese and sugar as much as you want until it’s smooth, but don’t overbeat once you add the eggs!

Spray the 10″ springform pan with some nonstick spray, then cut some parchment paper in a circle so you can place it on the bottom so it’s easier to remove.  Spray some more non stick spray on top of that as well.  As always, cheesecakes should be baked in a water bath.  Cover the bottom of the springform pan in 2-3 layers of aluminum foil, and place it in a large roasting dish when baking.  Be sure to add enough hot or boiling water into the pan until it’s up to 1/2 the height of the springform pan.  Do this quickly so you don’t let the oven temperature drop too much!

The cheesecake turned out nice and creamy, although not quiiiiiiiiiiite as fluffy as Dorie’s version (still fluffy, don’t worry!).  I couldn’t help but crave some whipped cream while eating this (force of habit when eating pumpkin desserts), so I bought some cool whip to bring with me to bible study along with the cheesecake.  Unfortunately, Denise (who requested this) wasn’t even at the study this week, so she missed out on her own request 😦

Pumpkin Cheesecake

adapted from Epicurious recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 2 cups graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/3 ~ 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped (optional)
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted

Pumpkin Cheesecake filling

  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

1.  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Place a 10″ springform pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2.  Mix the graham crackers, sugar, spices, and optional nuts in food processor.  Pulse until finely ground.  Add the melted butter and pulse until evenly distributed.

3.  Press the graham cracker mixture onto the springform pan and partially up the sides.  Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool on a cooling rack while preparing the pumpkin cheesecake filling.

4.  Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

5.  Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy.  I usually beat this on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or more to make sure it’s satiny smooth.  Remember, this is the best time to mix and beat out any lumps, because those don’t disappear when baking!

6.  Beat in the eggs 1 at a time.  Add pumpkin and the remaining ingredients.  Beat until just blended.  Pour the filling into the prepared crust.

addnig the pumpkin

adding the pumpkin

pumpkin cheesecake filling

pumpkin cheesecake filling

7.  Place the 10″ springform pan in a roasting pan in the oven.  Pour enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

8.  Bake cheesecake until slightly puffed and softly set, about 1 1/2 hours.  Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar (propped with a wooden spoon) for another hour.  Transfer to a cooling rack for a couple hours until room temperature.

9.  Cover and refrigerate cheesecake overnight.  Be careful when releasing sides of the springform pan so you don’t crack anything!

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