Homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake

pumpkin-cheesecake-side

Ginger snaps and pecans make this crust an instant hit.

Take the leap from pumpkin pie to pumpkin cheesecake this Fall and get your ginger snaps ready.

Making the crust for this cheesecake was actually fun. Since I do not own a food processor,  I put all of the ginger snaps in a plastic bag, placed a towel over it, and hammered away with the round end of my meat tenderizer.  A little Thanksgiving stress got instantly released. I could have done the same thing for the pecans, but my grandmother sent me a manual nut chopper just last year, and this was an opportune time to take advantage of the tool. After all the crushing was over with, I mixed the nuts and crushed cookies with the melted butter and sugar in a large bowl.  Then I distributed it evenly on the bottom of my new 9 1/2 inch spring form pan. I recommend you also come up a least an inch on the edges of the pan for both the aesthetic appeal and to support the filling. When the crust was shaped out just right, I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. It was already starting to smell good.

Ginger snaps, pecans, sugar and butter-need I say more.

Next up was the filling.  I was shocked to see that this recipe calls for two full pounds pf cream cheese. I bought a giant 3 pound bar at Sam’s Club, and even after cutting a third off, i was still overwhelmed at how much cheese goes in a cheesecake! I started out by adding the room temperature Philadelphia Cream Cheese and the sugar until the mix had that familiar whipped quality. Next was the pumpkin puree.  In another bowl I mixed the flour with the pumpkin spice.  I added the spiced flour, wine, and vanilla extract and finally mixed in one egg at a time.  The filling was the perfect amount and I used all of it to reach the very tip of the pan.  Cheesecakes do not rise, so there was now worry there.

Cook the cheesecake in a water bath or bain marie to prevent unsightly cracks.

Cooking cheesecakes take a great deal of finesse. Cheesecakes easily crack in the middle , and air pockets can easily explode leaving holes on the surface. While part of the secret to a perfect cheesecake is to mix the eggs in just right without over-mixing, the real trick comes from how you cook it.  First of all, you need to prepare a water bath or Bain Marie for your cheesecake. To do this, first wrap the pan in tin foil to cover any seams, and then place the pan in another bigger pan of water filled to about halfway. I used the same tin I cook a turkey in.  Cooking the cheesecake in water keeps the oven moist and prevents unsightly cracks. The temperature of the cheesecake should be low at about 325 degrees and cooked slowly for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.  To cool your cake,  first, just open the oven door and leave it alone for about 30 minutes. Then put the pan on a rack for 3-4 hours. Finally, refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours. Be gentle and allow the cheesecake to heat and cool down slowly.

Serve with fresh whipped cream. Your guest will be asking for seconds.

 

 

 

Homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 24
  • Difficulty: hard

Ingredients:

  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 8 ounces gingersnap cookies, crumbled (about 32 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons Marsala Wine (or alcohol of choice)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • whipped cream, for serving

Directions:

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