This Thanksgiving, I decided to try my hand at baking a Pumpkin cheesecake. I have come a long way since I used to think that pumpkin-themed sweet goods were, well, unsavory in my cookbook! In Indian cooking, pumpkin is mainly used in savory and spicy dishes and my first exposure to a sweet pumpkin dish were in the form of pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread in the US. Since then, one of my favorite items to bake when Fall comes around is pumpkin bread! While I am still not a fan of pumpkin pie (too dense and too sweet!) I do love the spices that go into it. This cheesecake is a delightful combination of the flavors found in pumpkin pie balanced with the light and airy texture of a cheesecake. The sour cream topping is essential as it adds a tangy flavor to the sweet cheesecake.
For my first blog post, I would also like to give thanks to my sister and my fiance who encouraged me to start blogging about my cooking and food experiences! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I had a wonderful time with family and good food and of course, yummy Pumpkin Cheesecake!
I followed the recipe found at Joy of Baking with minor modifications. I didn’t have all the individual spices that the recipe called for, so I substituted them with an equivalent amount of pumpkin pie spice. Also, I used a 9-inch springform pan instead of 8-inch since that’s the only kind I have.
1 cup crushed honey graham crackers
1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
1 tablespoon white sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-8 ounce blocks of full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
Sour cream topping
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick spray, a 9-inch spring form pan.
Crush the honey graham crackers and gingersnaps using a food processor or place them inside a ziptop bag and bash them with a rolling pin until you get cookie crumbs. Combine the honey graham cracker crumbs, crushed ginger cookies, sugar, and melted butter (I used my food processor for this). Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared spring form pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Let cool while you make the cheesecake..
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on low speed for a couple of minutes until smooth. Slowly add the sugar mixture and beat until creamy and smooth for another 1-2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.
Pour the filling over the crust and place the spring form pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips in case the pan leaks. Place a cake pan, filled halfway with hot water, on the bottom shelf of your oven to moisten the air. Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees C and continue to bake the cheesecake for another 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake are puffed but the center is still a little wet and jiggles slightly when you gently shake the pan.
Sour cream topping:
Whisk together the sour cream, vanilla extract and sugar. Spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and return the cheesecake to the oven and bake about 8 minutes to set the topping. Remove from oven and allow cheesecake to cool. Loosen the cake from the pan by running a sharp knife around the inside edge and cover with a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pan to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly. When completely cooled, cover and refrigerate at least eight hours, preferably overnight, before serving.