There are always recipes in the back of my head that are constantly on my to-bake list but that I apparently don’t seem to have recipes for. I’ve been wanting to make a pumpkin cheesecake for probably two years. And last week, when I decided that I finally had a perfect excuse at the perfect time of year to actually do so, I went to my collection of recipes and realized that there was no pumpkin cheesecake recipe to be found. I’ve seen plenty of them around, online, in cookbooks, on television, in magazines. And yet I never actually saved one. I think there were just too many to choose from, and how was I to know which one would turn out best?
A couple of weekends ago during a car trip I pulled out my Thanksgiving magazines and started reading through the recipes (boy, am I getting an early start on the holidays this year). Pages and pages of turkeys and pumpkin pies and homemade yeast rolls and all four hours of our trip to spend on them. And in Real Simple I stumbled across a pumpkin cheesecake recipe that seems just as good as any, with a sour cream whipped cream topping that seemed a little odd to me but turned out lovely (although apparently un-photographed). There was a crust that seemed too thin but turned out to be just right. And a filling that seemed to have a lot of spice in it, but was of course exactly perfect.
I’m going to give you a warning now and tell you that between now and Christmas there might not be anything healthy to be found around here. I have a list of Thanksgiving baking plus a birthday or two. And then there is the Christmas baking, and I’m not even sure where to start on that one (well, besides peanut butter balls of course). We’ve been returning to a lot of dinner favorites recently, especially those hearty warm dishes like baked rigatoni and juicy pot roast. And right now, I’m content to stick with some of those things. As far as new things go, all I want to make are sweets and treats, and you know what? I think that between now and Christmas that is perfectly acceptable.
adapted from Real Simple Magazine November 2012
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Wait Time: 3 hours
For the cake:
4 oz. gingersnap cookies
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Non-stick cooking spray
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
For the topping:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a small food processor, process the cookies until they are finely ground. Dump the crumbs into a bowl and add the melted butter. Stir together until all of the cookie crumbs are coated. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan evenly. Then spray the sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and brown sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Then stir in the vanilla.
4. In a small bowl, combine flour, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the cream cheese mixture, beating on low speed until it is incorporated.
5. Add the pumpkin and beat on medium speed, until combined.
6. Pour the filling into the prepared spring form pan, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Place the spring form pan on a rimmed baking sheet (very important!) and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes, until the cake is set. (If the top becomes too brown but the inside of the cake is not done, loosely tent the top with tinfoil.)
7. Remove from oven and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides, and then unmold it.
8. Make the topping just before serving. In a medium-sized bowl beat together cream, sour cream, and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spread evenly over the top of the cake, or serve alongside the cake.