You know it is autumn when the local farms are selling pumpkins and bushels of apples at their stands. The air is crisp and cool and the last of the tomatoes have been picked from my garden. This time of year has pumpkin desserts on every one's wish list for fall comfort foods. Recently, I have been baking Pumpkin Cheesecakes at home and all of the wonderful things that I love about pumpkin desserts can be found in my easy recipe for it. Warm spice and rich creamy pumpkin blend in this delicious dessert that tastes like a combination of my amazing Pumpkin Pie and classic NYC cheesecake. The crunchy graham cracker crust is buttery with the nutty flavor of pecans. At your next family gathering, when everyone is expecting the same old boring pumpkin pie, serve them this incredible Pumpkin Cheesecake, because you are Cooking The Amazing.
Here is the recipe.
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 20 whole Squares of Graham Crackers, Honey Flavor (about 2 1/2 c crushed)
- 2 T Sugar
- 2 T Brown Sugar
- 10 T Unsalted Butter, Melted
- Pinch of Salt (omit salt if you only have salted butter)
- 1/2 c Pecans, Chopped
TIP: Use 2 1/2 c of finely crushed ginger snaps in place of the graham crackers as another tasty option for the crust.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You may use a 9 inch spring form pan, a 9 X 13 baking dish or 2 nine inch deep dish pie plates for this recipe.
- Place graham crackers in a large zip lock bag and close tight with all air out. Using a rolling pin or large heavy can, roll over the bag of graham crackers crushing them. Flip the bag over several times and crush until finely crushed and there are no large pieces.
- Pour crushed crackers into a medium bowl. Remove any big pieces you missed while crushing.
- Add pecans, sugars and salt and mix well with a fork until combined.
- Microwave butter in a small bowl until melted, about 45 secs.
- Pour the melted butter over the graham cracker mixture and with a fork combined, mixing well but keep it crumbly.
- This makes a little extra for the 9 inch spring form pan version. You may use about 3/4 of the mixture depending on your spring form pan. Pour the graham cracker butter mixture into an 9 inch spring form pan and using your fingers, press it into the bottom of the pan going about 2 1/2-3 inches up the sides of the pan. Pack it firm against the pan.
- If you do not have a spring form pan, you can use a buttered 9 X 13 baking dish and serve it from that pan when fully prepared. Use the same method and press the graham cracker mixture into the buttered glass baking dish, packing it firm. You will have a less thick cheesecake when fully baked, but still delicious. Or use two 9 inch deep dish Pie pans. There will be enough Cheese Cake batter for two 9 inch deep dish Pies.
- Bake crust in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until browned. Remove and cool on the counter while you prepare filling.
- 3 8 oz. Packages of Cream Cheese, Softened
- 1 c Sugar
- 1/4 c Light Brown Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 1/2 t Vanilla Extract
- 1 c Pumpkin, From a Can of Pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie mix)
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 1/2 t Cinnamon
- 1/4 t Nutmeg
- 1/8 t Ground Clove or Ground Allspice (or both if you like spice)
- 1/4 t Ground Ginger
- Keep oven heated at 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, add softened cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla and blend with hand mixer until smooth.
- Add 1 cup of pumpkin from a can of pumpkin, eggs and all spices and mix until well blended. You can freeze the left over canned pumpkin not used in a zip lock bag.
- Pour pumpkin mixture on top of baked cooled graham cracker crust and spread even with a rubber spatula. If using two 9 inch deep dish Pie pans, divide evenly.
- Place pan or dish on a cookie sheet for easy transfer and place in the center of the oven on the center rack. There is no need to use a water bath in this recipe. But the purist can if desired.
- Bake 350 degrees in center of your oven. For 9 inch spring form pan bake for 60-70 minutes. For 9 X 13 pan bake for 55-60 mins. For two 9 inch deep dish Pie pans bake 45-50 mins. Bake to these times or until the top is slightly browned and the center jiggles a little. The cheesecake will puff and top will turn brown in places. It will still be slightly jiggly in the middle when done. Ovens vary so check the Cheese Cake for these signs when done. It may be sooner or longer for your oven.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. The cheesecake will deflate from the puffy state it was in when you took it from the oven.
- Once it has cooled to room temperature, place uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours. This is an important step to get the right consistency. This is the hard part of this recipe... the waiting! But it will be worth it.
- Once well chilled, release from the spring form pan or if using a baking dish, cut and serve.
TIP: Serve with a big spoonful of whipped cream dusted with cinnamon on top.