November 17, 2021 By Kira Chipman, Culinary Manager of Clandestine Kitchen
What is more ‘fall in New England’ than pumpkin everything? The smells of spice in the kitchen makes you think of Thanksgiving-time and being with family. Elevate your traditional pumpkin pie with a decadent pumpkin cheesecake this year at your holiday table!
2-1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (use crunchy gingersnap cookies and grind in food processor)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
24 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature*
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position, and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
Make the crust: Using a food processor, pulse the gingersnaps into crumbs. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter until combined. (You can also pulse it all together in the food processor.) Mixture will be sandy. Press firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan. No need to grease the pan first. I use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crust down tightly. Pre-bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the hot pan on a large piece of aluminum foil. The foil will wrap around the pan for the water bath in step 4. Allow the crust to slightly cool as you prepare the filling.
Make the filling: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. On medium-high speed, beat in pumpkin, egg and egg yolk, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. On high speed, beat in sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla until combined. To help prevent the cheesecake from deflating and cracking as it cools, avoid over-mixing the batter as best you can.
Prepare the simple water bath (see note): Boil a pot of water. You need 1 inch of water in your roasting pan for the water bath, so make sure you boil enough. As the water is heating up, wrap the aluminum foil around the springform pan. Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the crust. Use a rubber spatula or spoon to smooth it into an even layer. Place the pan inside of a large roasting pan. Carefully pour the hot water inside of the pan and place in the oven. (Or you can place the roasting pan in the oven first, then pour the hot water in. Whichever is easier for you.)
(Note: if you notice the cheesecake browning too quickly on top, tent it with aluminum foil halfway through baking.) Bake cheesecake for 55-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. When it’s done, the center of the cheesecake will slightly wobble if you gently shake the pan. Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven in the water bath as it cools down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and water bath, then cool cheesecake completely uncovered at room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean and dip into warm water between each slice. Serve cheesecake with desired toppings. Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.