Today is Thanksgiving. It is also that time of the year where the pumpkin obsession of all twenty-something-ers, hipsters, pinterest-ers… basically anyone with a pulse… goes into full-blown mental chaos. Me? I’ve never really succumbed to this trend quite like the vast majority of people on this globe, but there is one pumpkin-something-or-another that I look forward to each and every year, and I’ll tell you a secret… it ain’t no PSL. Oh no. It’s better. MUCH better. It’s this:
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake.
It’s definitely on the same playing field as the PSL. As a matter of fact – we should give it it’s own acronym. From now on, we shall call it the PSC. Because that’s how good it is. Let’s look at it again…
For the last five years I have brought this dish to all Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations – it’s been my go-to. The reason? It’s so flipping delicious. Don’t even get me started on the crust… gingersnap crust… Oh. My. Word. If I wasn’t so stuffed from an overload of turkey, sweet potato casserole, and every dessert in between (this one included), I’d probably sneak away from my computer right this moment to snag myself another slice.
If my own review of this deliciousness doesn’t convince you, I must say that my husband may look forward to this dessert more than myself, and he isn’t really even a sweets kind of guy. I think it is a mixture of the crust and the Autumnal spices that get poured inside and wrapped with sweet, pure pumpkin that just makes this decadent dessert so addictive. I cannot remember where I originally – correction: thankfully – found this recipe, but it is a staple in our house around the holidays, and I really cannot see our future festivities to be lacking in any way – the cake is practically family.
Now, let me start off this recipe by acknowledging those of you who are off-put by the idea of making a cheesecake: I know, I see you… quivering at the very thought, but trust me when I say, the hardest part about making cheesecake is keeping your patience – and your sanity for that matter – while continuously scrapping down the sides of your mixing bowl trying to get the globs of cream cheese off the bowl – and your spatula – and into the other combined ingredients. Follow my directions, and you are as good as Jedi Cheesecake Master… and your mom’s new favorite child.
Any way you work it, this cheesecake will light up your holiday season, and pretty soon everyone is going to be talking about your PSC, and no one will even remember what PSL stands for… Take that Starbucks.
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Ingredients for the Crust:
- About 40 gingersnap wafers (to yield 2+ cups cookie crumbs)
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 2 lb. (four 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. ground allspice
- ¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
- One 15 oz. can pure solid-pack pumpkin
Major Tools Needed:
- Springform pan (9 in.)
- Standing or hand-held electric mixer
- Rubber spatula
- Large baking dish (big enough to fit springform inside)
- Kettle or saucepan for boiling water
- Position a rack in the middle of an oven and heat to 350 degrees.
- Make the Crust:
- Pulse the cookies and brown sugar in a food processor until well combined.
- Transfer to a medium bowl and add the melted butter:
- Combine thoroughly until the mixture is evenly moist and crumbly.
- Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and partway up the sides of springform pan.
- Chill for 5 minutes and then bake for 10 minutes—Let cool.
- Make the Filling:
- Heat a kettle of water.
- With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and salt—Add mixture to the cream cheese.
- Beat until well blended, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next, and scraping down the bowl after each.
- Blend in the vanilla and pumpkin.
- Scrap the batter into the cooled crust.
- Tap the pan gently twice on the counter to release any air bubbles.
- Set the pan in a larger baking dish, and add enough hot water from the kettle to come about 1/3 way up the sides of the pan.
- Bake until the top of the cake looks deep golden and burnished, and the center is set (may just barely begin to crack), 1 hour 35 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes
- The cake will jiggle a little bit when tapped
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a thin-bladed knife between the crust and the pan sides.
- Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature.
- Cover and chill overnight.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey Day! Happy Thanksgiving, and good tidings for the coming festivities ahead!