You know those dishes that you just HAVE to have to make your Thanksgiving feast complete? Well. This is one of mine. Eight years & counting. I like pumpkin pie. I LOVE pumpkin cheesecake. But it has to be just the right mix of sweet and savory. Not too much of either. & while pie crust usually doesn’t do it for me, this sugar graham crust is TO DIE FOR. This gets rave reviews everywhere I take it, so once & for all, I thought I would share it here. I finally figured out the secret to a smooth (not cracked) top of the cheesecake…so here’s a fave of mine…creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake!! :)
Yield: 16 servings
- 1 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares; I use a meat tenderizer to smash)
- 2 TBSP sugar
- 1/2 c butter, melted
- 1/4 c flour
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 TBSP brandy (I never use this because I never have it)
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
- 4 packages (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 c packed brown sugar
- 2/3 c sugar
- 5 eggs
- Heat oven to 325°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan (I use a cheesecake pan, a personal preference over springform) with shortening (I use the flour baking spray). In small bowl, mix cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the melted butter. Press crumb mixture in bottom of pan. (I use the flat side of a measuring cup to evenly tamp it down) Wrap foil around outside of pan to prevent drips. Bake crust 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until completely cooled.
- Meanwhile, in another small bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, brandy and pumpkin; set aside. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. (here’s the no-crack tip: make sure the cream cheese is plenty soft so you DO NOT OVER BEAT. Over-beating causes cracking. Beat only to combine after this step, but make sure you beat so there are no lumps–they will not bake out & you will have specks of white in your cheesecake otherwise) Gradually beat in brown sugar and 2/3 cup granulated sugar until smooth. On low speed, beat in 1 egg at a time just until blended. Gradually beat in pumpkin mixture until smooth.
- Pour filling over crust. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes or until set but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved. (I always bake 1:30) Turn oven off; open oven door at least 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in oven 30 minutes.
- Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.
- To serve, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Carefully remove side of pan before cutting cheesecake. (another tip: if you want a pretty cheesecake but want to pre-cut slices, place it in the freezer for about a half hour before cutting. The harder the cheesecake, the smoother the cake edges.) Store covered in refrigerator.
Now I always serve this with real whipped cream. My go-to recipe is just 1 cup of whipping cream + 1 tsp vanilla. You can add 1 TBSP of confectioners sugar if you like, but I don’t always. You could also add pumpkin pie spice if you wanted to spice your whipped cream. Yummy! I have made this so many times and learned along the way not to freak out if the top is ugly because of cracking or poor slicing–just cover the heck out of it with some frothy whipped cream. Problem solved!
I also love to freeze the leftover slices. I slice before freezing then throw the individual slices in a tupperware, thawing out a slice at a time. You can put a slice in the microwave at 15 second intervals if you can’t wait for it to thaw in real time. It tastes just as good. Swear! :)
Mmm. Good food. Bad food photography. I took these in the 30 seconds I had before running this over to preschool so I wasn’t late. Not ideal, but mouthwatering nonetheless. ;)
& tomorrow I will be sharing my whole Thanksgiving Menu (with some updates) on The Creative Mama–so don’t freak out if you haven’t planned your meal & need some tried & true recommendations. I promise to help you out!