11.09.2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust

Pumpkin CheesecakeNovember’s here, and with it comes the start of all the holiday baking! It’s a good thing I have all those goodies to look forward too, because I’m definitely not looking forward to the nasty weather that winter brings with it. Gone are the bright colors on the trees and the crisp hoodie weather I love so much. In just a matter of a few weeks the view outside my back window has gone from gorgeous to gloomy, I finally had to break down and put on an actual coat, turn the heat on in my house, and I was not happy the first morning I had to scrape frost from my windshield. I cringe every time the weatherman hints at freezing temperatures and the possibility of the first snow of the season. And I heard Christmas songs played in a store the other day. Oh no. Not yet. I’m not ready yet! Fall passed me by before I got to fully enjoy it! So I’m holding on for dear life to the flavors of fall. You might snow on me, but you’ll never take my pumpkin away!

What a difference 2 weeks makes.

If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve been on a bit of a pumpkin kick lately. And it’s all this cheesecake’s fault. I had it for the first time last year when Kiesha brought it into work, and ever since, I’ve been hooked on pumpkin. The pumpkin isn’t at all overwhelming. It’s a very subtle flavor mixed with the cream cheese. Just a bit of cinnamon for spice, and a gingersnap cookie crust, and you’ve got the perfect combination of flavors to compliment the pumpkin.

As with all baked cheesecakes, this one takes some forethought, planning, and a whole lot of time. And I always forget about that. I know you should leave your ingredients out to come to room temperature so they mix better and bake more evenly, but I always forget to do this step until right before I want to bake. This time—no exception. There went about 2 hours of possible baking time waiting for things to warm up. The other thing that I always manage to screw up? My cheesecake cracks—EVERY TIME. I have never made a cheesecake that came out perfectly. I know all the reasons that cause cheesecake to crack, and I try my hardest to avoid those mistakes, but I can’t figure out which one I’m doing wrong Every. Single. Time. This time was probably the worst crack ever. It looked like the Grand Canyon running through the center!! Someday I’ll get it right... Maybe. If I ever figure out what I’m doing wrong.

Regardless of the fact that it was horribly ugly, the cheesecake came out fantastic! It tasted soo good! I set aside about a third of it to save for me and Boyfriend and took the rest to work. The part that went to work was gone by the end of the night, and right now there’s about half of what I saved left, and Boyfriend hasn’t even gotten any yet! Oops.

This Pumpkin Cheesecake changed me. This is the one that turned me from a pumpkin hater to a pumpkin fiend. It turned my pumpkin-less world upside down. Without it I would never have the joys of Pumpkin Cookies, or Pumpkin Cupcakes, or Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. What was my life like before this cheesecake? I don’t even know. I don’t know how I’ve lived so long without it. Rich, creamy pumpkin sitting on top of a gingersnap and pecan crust—it’s absolutely heavenly. If one piece of cheesecake can change your mind about pumpkin, wouldn’t you want to try it?




Pumpkin CheesecakePumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust
Adapted from More from Magnolia by Allysa Torey
Makes one 10-inch cheesecake



Crust:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
25-30 gingersnap cookies, or 1 ½ cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
½ cup chopped toasted pecans

Filling:
¾ pound (1 ½ 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin puree
¾ cup heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

Note: To toast pecans, place on baking sheet in 350F oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.
2. To make crust: Place 25-30 gingersnap cookies, broken into pieces, and toasted pecans in a food processor and pulse until they are fine crumbs. With the food processor running, pour melted butter in until mixture is moistened through. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
3. To make filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on low speed until very smooth. Gradually add sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin puree and mix until just blended. Stir in heavy cream and cinnamon.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and set pan on baking sheet. Bake until edges are set and center moves only slightly when pan is shaken, about 1 hour. With oven door slightly ajar, cool the cake in the oven for 1 more hour before removing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
5. Remove cake from refrigerator 15 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
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4 comments:

oneordinaryday said...

My cheesecakes always crack too, but I don't mind a bit. I usually do a layer of sweetened sour cream on top, which hides it and adds an awesome flavor to every bite. Or, a big pile of whipped cream. You can't go wrong with that! : ) I think your cheesecake looks and sounds wonderful.

Amanda said...

I've only made two cheesecakes, but I used a waterbath for both and neither cracked. Could very well have been beginner's luck though. :) I think I've decided to make a decadent pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving. I was planning to use gingersnaps in the crust but now maybe I'll add some pecans too.

Kiesha Jenkins-Duffy said...

My cheesecakes crack every time too. Whipped cream hides everything though ;)

I'm planning to make a Pumpkin Roll Cake this weekend and the Pumpkin Chiffon Pie from howtoeatacupcake for Thanksgiving dinner!

Ingrid said...

I'll be honest I've never had issues with cracks but I don't worry about it. Maybe my nonchalance works. Cracks or no cracks I'm all over that cheesecake and I've loved pumpkin for as long as I can remember.
~ingrid

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