Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Can’t decide between pumpkin pie and luscious cheesecake for a festive dessert? Here’s your answer.

In this season of all things pumpkin, if you can’t decide between pumpkin pie and a luscious cheesecake for a festive dessert, here’s your answer. And, using pumpkin pie spice is very convenient—it contains everything you need: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, notes cookbook author Lori Longbotham, who contributed this recipe to Real Food. If you use canned pumpkin, check to see that the label on the can just says “pumpkin” rather than “pumpkin pie filling,” which would already have spices added. (One 15-ounce can yields about 2 cups of mashed pumpkin or a little less.)

You might garnish this with chopped toasted hazelnuts and a tiny dollop of whipped cream or a sprinkle of gingersnap crumbs. Try it for a festive touch to a Halloween party or keep it in mind for Thanksgiving and beyond.

Plan ahead—you’ll need to cool the cake to room temp and then refrigerate for ten hours before serving.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Serves 10

1 12 c. gingersnap cookie crumbs
12 c. finely chopped hazelnuts
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
14 c. sugar

1 12 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
12 c. packed light brown sugar
14 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 12 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. solid-pack pumpkin pureÌe (not pumpkin pie mix)
12 c. sour cream
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter an 8- or 8 12-inch springform pan.

To make crust, stir together all ingredients in a medium bowl until crumbs are moistened. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of prepared pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.

To make filling: With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large deep bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and then egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and pumpkin pie spice and beat on low speed just until combined. Add pumpkin pureÌe, sour cream, and vanilla and beat just until combined. Pour filling into shell.

Place cheesecake on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F and continue baking for 1 hour.

Turn oven off and let cheesecake cool in oven for 2 12 hours, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for at least 10 hours, until thoroughly chilled and set, or for up to 2 days.

To serve, run a knife around side of cheesecake and remove side of pan. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature, cut into thin wedges with a sharp knife dipped into hot water and wiped clean after each cut.

Nutrition info (per serving) Pumpkin Cheesecake: Calories 561 (363 from fat); Fat 40g (sat. 22g); Chol 184mg; Sodium 345mg; Carb 42g; Fiber 2g; Protein 10g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.