November 26, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I don't know about you, but I'm experiencing holiday food fatigue. In catching up on my food blog browsing, I'm most drawn in by new recipes that are lighter and don't involve cranberries or baked casseroles. 

So after a long weekend of fried things at Amigo's, wings at Binga's, and every vegetable that I ate being covered in Cream of Mushroom soup, I had kale salad for lunch. 

But I need to break my own rules to tell you about this cheesecake for a few reasons. One, I have a hard time with baking, and usually mess something up somewhere (see all the failed Bakers' Challenges). But this cheesecake came out great! Second, while this cheesecake is technically Thanksgiving-related, it would be perfect for any of your holiday potluck needs. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker

For the crust:
2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (one 10 oz. bag was plenty)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar*
6 tablespoons butter, melted

*I forgot the sugar and the crust came out tasting fine!

For the filling:
4 packages 8 oz. cream cheese (32 oz. total), at room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350*F. Double wrap a 9" springform pan in heavy-duty aluminium foil. Mix together crust ingredients and press into pan. I pressed it in just the bottom, but the photos in the recipe I used show it up the sides too, so your choice. Bake crust for 6 to 8 minutes, until brown (hard to tell, it's already brown!). Set aside.

Boil a kettleful of water to use in water bath.

Mix cream cheese, sugars, and pumpkin together in a large bowl until smooth. You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer.

Add remaining ingredients, except eggs, and stir until combined. Add eggs one at a time, stirring until fully incorporated in between each egg. Be careful not to overmix or cheesecake might come out tough. Pour into pan. Place pan in a large roasting pan and fill roasting pan with boiling water until water is halfway up springform pan. This water bath method of baking will help cheesecake bake fully, while staying moist and prevent cracking.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes (I did one hour exactly). Turn off oven and let cheesecake stand for one hour more. Remove and let cool on a cooling rack. Refrigerate overnight.

Serve with whipped cream or caramel drizzling sauce!