Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Ok, I know I just posted a recipe for a Perfect New York Cheesecake, but today I’m sharing a fall version of it- Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust. It’s a recipe re-do of sorts. A few years back I made a pumpkin cheesecake to take to an activity but I never got any good pictures of it, just a quick “before and after.” Let’s just say the “after” was a messy springform pan. Nothing too pretty to look at. And the “before” wasn’t any better either. But it tasted AMAZING, so amazing that I couldn’t help sharing it with you again.
This time I ditched the praline topping. It was good but as silly as it sounds, I wanted something a little less sweet and “lighter” if you will. You can get the recipe for that here. Anyway, this recipe is a favorite of mine because like my New York Cheesecake, it’s fail proof. I mean look at it, it’s kind of perfect, don’t you think? It all starts with the crust. I opted for a blend of gingersnaps and graham cracker crumbs. I found crust made with 100% gingersnap crumbs is too dense. I like to do half and half. Once you’ve got the crust in the pan and baked, it’s time to make the filling.
When you’re making cheesecake it’s really important that your ingredients are at room temperature. That means your cream cheese, eggs and whipping cream all need to be left out for a few hours to come to room temperature. If they’re too cold they won’t mix well and you’ll end up with a lumpy filling. If your filling is too cold when it goes in the oven it won’t bake/rise properly and you could end up with cracks, bubbles or a fallen cheesecake. We definitely don’t want any of those three things to happen!
After pouring the filling into the baked crust, set your prepared springform pan into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water (to create a water bath) about half way up the side of the springform pan. Place it into the center of your oven and bake it for at least 1 hour and 45 minutes. I like cheesecake extra firm so I usually bake it for 15 minutes more. Just keep an eye on the top to make sure it’s not getting too brown. Once the cheesecake looks set, turn off your oven and crack it open so that it can gently cool inside the oven and come to room temperature… about 1 hour or so (up to 1 1/2 hours). When the cheesecake feels like it has cooled off, place a paper towel over the top of the springform pan and then a sheet of foil. The paper towel will trap any moisture or condensation and will prevent pools of water from forming on top of your cheesecake. Refrigerate the cheesecake for AT LEAST 4 hours. I like mine extra cold and firm so we usually leave it in overnight.
When you’re ready to serve the cheesecake, whip up a quick little batch of homemade whipped cream and pipe it around the edges of the cheesecake. It’s a really nice finishing touch. You can even sprinkle on some extra pumpkin pie spice if you want… I’m kind of obsessed with it so I tend to go a little crazy with it. I hope you’ll enjoy this cheesecake as much as we did. It was as big of a hit this time as it was 3 years ago, even my pumpkin hating husband LOVED it! Success ;)
- 1 c. graham cracker crumbs
- 1 c. gingersnap crumbs
- 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
- Pinch salt
- 5 tbsp. butter, melted
- 1½ lbs. or (3) 8 oz. blocks plain cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 (15 oz) can solid-pack pumpkin puree
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- ½ c. brown sugar
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- ¼ c. heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- Homemade whipped cream:
- ½ c. heavy whipping cream
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
- Cover the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with extra large aluminum foil so that the no water can leak in (it's worth a trip to the store to buy the 18" wide foil). Wrap it with two layer for extra security. Crimp the top of the foil around the top edge of the springform pan. You can also place the springform pan in a slightly larger cake pan (10") that has 2" sides (I ran out of big foil but had a nice cake pan that it just barely fit into. I didn't have to worry at all about the foil keeping water out).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, placing the top rack in lower third of oven. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the finely ground graham cracker & gingersnap crumbs with the sugar and salt. Pour the melted butter over top and mix until the crumbs become coated.
- Pour into the prepared springform pan and gently smooth out (I like to use a metal measuring cup for this). Carefully work the crumbs up the sides so that they are 1½" tall and approximately ¼" thick. You should have a nice layer on the bottom and the sides should go about halfway up your pan. Place into the oven and bake for 8 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
- Beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer for approximately 4 minutes or until smooth and creamy. With mixing speed on low, gradually add the sugars, then turn back up to high and beat for an additional minute. With mixing speed on low, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add the heavy cream, beat on high for 1 minute.
- Place the prepared springform pan into a large high-sided roasting pan. Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Pour boiling water around the springform pan, taking care not to get any on the filling. You'll want the water to go halfway up the side of the pan (this was just to the lip of my 2" tall cake pan). Place in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minuets. If you like extra firm cheesecake, continue baking for an additional 15 minutes for a total of 2 hours.
- After the the cheesecake has baked, turn off the oven, slightly crack the door open and allow to cool for 1 hour. This is the key to getting a perfect top without it falling or cracks forming. Remove the cheesecake from the bath, dry the bottom and cover with foil. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours before serving, I prefer 6+ hours. During the chilling process the cheesecake should come away from the edges of the pan, making it easy and mess-free to remove it before serving.
- Prepare the whipped cream by combining all of the ingredients in a chilled bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on hight until relatively stiff. Pipe along the edges of the top of the cheesecake. Serve immediately.