We’ve all been in this predicament: it’s time to make a dish to bring, and pumpkin pie just won’t do. Oh, and it’s Thanksgiving. And you don’t feel like making pie crust. And it’s all for your future husband’s work Thanksgiving, at which there’s this, er, rumor that you bake really awesome bacon cookies and the world’s most perfect red velvet cupcakes.
I mean, can I get an amen?!
OK, so maybe you haven’t been in that exact predicament before, but this pumpkin cheesecake makes up for that hole in your life that may or may not exist, and so much more. It’s rich and spiced, this perfect fusion between pumpkin pie and cheesecake. It’s not “pumpkin spice-inspired” and it’s not pumpkin pie with cream cheese in it. It’s like that cousin you have who’s the exact 50/50 blend of their mom and their dad. Sometimes you might say, “Oh, that’s so Uncle Robert”, and other times you’re certain that “That’s all Aunt Janice”, but you could never commit to a seesawing unbalance one way or the other. Are we still talking about cheesecake?!
This pumpkin cheesecake is 100% perfect for Thanksgiving, whether you’re hosting the big day yourself or just looking for a dish to bring the hostess (or host.. sorry, gents).
I had some trouble with this cheesecake.. namely, I neglected to really tightly wrap the springform pan in foil, causing the water bath to leak into my cheesecake, which really made the crust do this tremendously unpretty thing. Untasty thing. But it was all my half-assed aluminum foiling skills’ fault. I then baked another rendition without a water bath, and probably whipped it far too long, and it baked for a million years and still wasn’t done. Translation: use a water bath. It’ll be gorgeous and perfect and wonderful in every way. Except if you halfheartedly wrap that sucker in aluminum foil, in which case you’ll have a cheesecake crust whose true ambition is bread pudding. Wrap it tightly, and you’ll find yourself with a rich, spiced, pumpkinny, yet cheesecaky dish with a beautifully smooth top and no cracks to be found–nowhere, not anywhere, not no nowheres. Huh? I digress, again.
You can totally pipe some whipped cream on the edge for a gorgeous presentation, or just plop a dollop on individual slices (plop is so close to being a weird sort of anagram of dollop, which makes me inexplicably amused, but it just falls short, which makes me inexplicably disappointed). I made mine a day before sending into work with dearest O, so I forewent the whipped cream, but it’s rich enough to not need whipped cream at all. A steady sprinkling of sifting powdered sugar is elegant and the perfect dusty garnish.
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar divided
- 3 8-oz. packages cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly!
- Put foil up the outer sides of an 8-inch springform pan. Use two layers if you have to, just make sure it is SUPER secure and tight. Otherwise you will end up with a leaky water bath and soggy crust!
- Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan. You don't want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake! Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.
In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix with an electric mixer until extremely smooth. Do your major beating right now, as beating hard when you add eggs will cause air bubbles to form then and burst during baking, causing a crack.
- Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and beat until smooth. Place the prepared pan into a casserole or other dish and fill with a bit of hot water -- not too much, about 1". Pour the filling into the springform pan.
Bake for 60-70 minutes or until center is mostly set but still a bit wobbly--there should be a 2-3" wobbly spot in the center. Let cool to room temperature and then chill thoroughly before serving.
- Remove springform sides when ready to serve. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream (do NOT go near this cheesecake with canned junk!) or a sprinkling of powdered sugar through a metal sieve.
When filling your water bath, ensure that cheesecake is extremely securely wrapped in foil. Otherwise, water might get into the cheesecake itself and produce a very soggy crust.
Most cheesecakes will take about 3 hours to fully chill.
Always use room temperature cream cheese.