1 cup (100 grams) graham cracker crumbs (or crushed Digestive Biscuits)
1/2 cup (50 grams) crushed ginger cookies, homemade or store bought
1 tablespoon (15 grams) white sugar
4 - 5 tablespoons (57-70 grams) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup (145 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-8 ounce packages (450 grams) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) pure pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
Cream Cheese Topping:
1 cup (240 ml) sour cream, room temp.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (50 grams) white sugar
Pumpkin Cheesecake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan.
Crust: In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, crushed ginger cookies, sugar, and melted butter. 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..
Pumpkin Cheesecake: In a separate bowl, stir to combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), on low speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth (about 2 minutes). Gradually add the sugar mixture and beat until creamy and smooth (1 to 2 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) 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. 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 (160 degrees C) and continue to bake the cheesecake for another 10 - 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake are puffed but the center is still a little wet and jiggles when you gently shake the pan. Total baking time 40 - 60 minutes.
Meanwhile 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 place on a wire rack to cool. Loosen the cake from the pan by running a sharp knife around the inside edge (this will help prevent the cake from cracking). Then place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pan so the cheesecake will cool slowly. When completely cooled, cover and refrigerate at least eight hours, preferably overnight, before serving.
Serves 10-12 people.
The best way to describe this Pumpkin Cheesecake is to say it combines a New York style cheesecake with pumpkin puree. This lovely cake has that smooth and velvety texture that only cheesecakes can have, while at the same time having the subtle flavor of pumpkin and its complementary spices. To further enhance the flavors of this cheesecake, we use a ginger flavored graham cracker crust and a layer of vanilla flavored sour cream on top. It is sure to become a favorite.
So let's start by talking about the crust. We are making a graham cracker crust, only we are replacing some of the graham cracker crumbs with crushed ginger cookies (homemade or store bought). This adds a nice zippy flavor and grainy texture which goes so well with the rich and creamy pumpkin cheesecake. If you prefer a plain graham cracker crust, just use 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) of graham cracker crumbs (or crushed Digestive Biscuits). Now, graham cracker crusts can be baked or just chilled. Since we want to have the crust quite firm, it is best to bake it, so that is what we are going to do here. It only needs about eight to ten minutes in the oven.
When making cheesecakes make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature so they blend together to create a smooth texture. In order to prevent the cheesecake from cracking beat the ingredients at low speed as, unlike a butter cake, you do not want to incorporate a lot of air into the batter. You only want to beat the ingredients until they are nice and smooth. And use full fat cream cheese and have it at room temperature as cold cream cheese is harder to beat and you can end up with graininess. You can use canned pure pumpkin in this recipe or make your own pumpkin puree. Fortunately there are excellent brands of canned pumpkin on the market which match the quality of homemade. Just use the pure pumpkin puree that does not have any spices added to it. Now, if you want to make your own puree, use the smaller pumpkin varieties like Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese Pumpkin (approximately 5-7 lbs., 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 kg.). To make the puree, cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove seeds and stringy fibers, and place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) for approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours (depending on size) or until easily pierced with a knife. Scoop out the pulp and puree in a food processor until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth to extract all the liquid. Cool before using.
Judging when a cheesecake is fully baked always presents a challenge, as they do need to be removed from the oven when the center is still a little wobbly and wet looking. Cracking can also be a problem. As a cheesecake bakes its moisture evaporates. If too much moisture is lost (when overcooked), or if it evaporates too quickly (oven temperature too hot) cracking will occur. So be sure to follow your recipe's instructions. Also, to prevent cracking, shortly after you remove the cheesecake from the oven, run a sharp knife around the inside edge of the cheesecake. Once the cheesecake has completely cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, about eight hours, or preferably overnight. This allows the cake to set, flavors to meld, and produces a creamier texture.