If you are looking for an epic cheesecake recipe you have come to the correct place. I made this for Thanksgiving last year and it was an absolute hit. This is a very light and fluffy cheesecake. It has great pumpkin pie flavors that mesh well with the gingerbread crust. The fresh whipped cream and candied pumpkin seeds are nice for an extra special touch but this would be delicious without them.
The key to making a cheesecake that does not crack on the top is to let it cool to room temperature in the warm oven. This allows the cheesecake to gradually pull away from the edges and the top to stay together.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
adapted very slightly from Brown Eyed Baker
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about a 14-oz package of cookies, I used the Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps)
2 Tbps light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
32 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 cups (about a 15-oz can) canned pumpkin
4 eggs, at room temperature
2½ Tbps heavy cream
1 Tbps vanilla extract
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Double-wrap the bottom and outside of a 9-inch springform pan with heavy duty foil. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil for a water bath.
3. Beat together the cream cheese and the sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix on low until completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, cloves and allspice and mix on low to incorporate.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan into a larger pan and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until it is about halfway up the springform pan.
5. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the edges are set, but the middle still jiggles a little. Keeping the oven door closed, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for 1-3 hours. After 1 hour (wait at least one hour to prevent the top from cracking), remove the cheesecake from the oven, carefully remove it from the water bath, remove the foil and place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool completely, about an additional 2 hours. Once completely cool, refrigerate for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).
6. Cover any leftover cheesecake with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Wrapped, the cheesecake can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Sugared Pumpkin Seeds
Recipe from Sprinkle Bakes
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 egg white
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper
2. Whisk egg white until frothy. Place pumpkin seeds in another bowl, and pour in just enough egg white to coat the seeds (do not add the whole egg if you don’t need it). You will most likely not use the entire egg white. Add salt, sugar and cinnamon. Toss well to coat.
3. Spread seeds on baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they begin to dry and color. Cool completely on a wire rack.
4. Break the sugared seeds into large pieces and keep them separate from the cheesecake until just before serving.
5. Immediately prior to serving, pipe on fresh whipped cream to the edges of the cheesecake. Then add pieces of sugared pumpkin seeds to decorate. This is a cheesecake that will impress everyone who sees and eats it!