Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake


Whether you’re tired of pumpkin pie or just want to serve something else on the holiday table, this pumpkin cheesecake will do the trick. You can make it and store covered in the fridge for up to a week, which is great for cooks who want to get ahead of all their cooking and baking.

This pumpkin cheesecake uses dark brown sugar for more depth of flavor and it balances the richness of the cream cheese. You’ll also notice I heat the puree in step one below. It’s cooked to evaporate some of the moisture and concentrate the sugars and flavors.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

FILLING

  • 16 ounces of pumpkin puree (canned or my homemade version)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • 6 ounces dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs (beaten)
  • 16 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)

CRUST

  • 7 ounces ginger cookies (Nabisco ginger snaps, about 20)
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter (melted plus extra for the pan)
  1. Bring the pumpkin puree to a simmer over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and add the ginger, nutmeg and dark brown sugar. Set aside to cool to room temperature (approximately 1 hour).
  2. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  3. Cut a parchment paper circle and long strip to fit the bottom and sides of a 9 by 3-inch cake pan. Brush the bottom and sides of the pan with melted butter. Adhere the parchment pieces to the bottom and sides of the pan.
  4. Prepare the crust by placing the ginger cookies, 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and process into a fine crumb, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. With the food processor running, drizzle in the melted butter. Stop and pulse 3 to 4 times or until the butter is well-incorporated.
  6. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan using a weighted glass. Bake for 15 minutes. Then cool for at least 10 minutes on a cooling rack.
  7. Combine the eggs and vanilla in a small mixing bowl. Bring two quarts of water to a boil in an electric kettle.
  8. Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for 10 seconds on low speed.
  9. Add the prepared pumpkin mixture and mix on low for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium, and beat until the mixture is lump free, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
  10. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly pour in half of the egg mixture. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the rest of the egg mixture and mix until completely combined. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.
  11. Line a roasting pan with a kitchen towel. Place the cheesecake to one side of the roasting pan and pour the boiling water in on the other side. Center the cheesecake in the roasting pan and bake for 2 hours. Turn the oven off and open the door for 1 minute. Close the door for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving. Do not attempt to remove the water bath with the cheesecake in it from the oven, unless you like water in your cheesecake.
  13. When ready to serve, place the entire cake pan into a hot water bath for about 15 seconds. Run a small offset spatula around the cheesecake to free the parchment and remove it. Place a piece of wax paper atop the cake and invert a large plate or the bottom of a spring-form pan on top of it. Flip the whole cheesecake over and remove the cake pan. Remove the parchment paper and place a cardboard cake circle or large plate on the bottom of the cake. Flip the whole thing over again and remove the wax paper.
  14. To slice, place your knife (the longest and thinnest blade you’ve got) into a hot water bath and wipe dry each time you make a pass through the cake. Cut into 12 slices.
  15. Store in the fridge, covered, for up to a week.

Alton Brown Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

53 Comments

Add yours
  1. 8
    Bill

    Found some gluten free ginger snaps, that tasted decent. I have a couple of relatives with gluten sensitivity, the rest of the recipe is gluten free. Chilling in the fridge now, will update with reviews from fam.

  2. 9
    Susan Rebelski

    You can get rid of the extra moisture by lining a shallow dish with 3 thick paper towels. Watch as the water is soaked up by the paper towels. Let set 1/2 hour then using the towel to lift the pumpkin into your mixing bowl. It peels right off the paper towel width looking any of the pumpkin.

  3. 13
    Lynda

    Just put it in the refrigerator to cool for tomorrow. I’ll be making some cinnamon maple whipped cream to top it with it. I had a couple of slight cracks, but nothing a little whipped cream can’t cover and it smells delicious, which is really all that matters.

    • 17
      Meghan

      The “recipe on the box” is 25 to 30 min at 325F for cupcake sized cheesecakes. The gradual cooling in AB’s instructions is focused on preventing cracks. Cupcake size would have less risk due to less mass changing temp. But really, isn’t that the point of whipped cream?

      • 19
        Kat

        The gradual cooling isn’t to prevent cracks. It’s gradual so the custard finishes cooking slowly in the water bath and coasts across the “finish line” without overcooking. In his cookbook it says a bit of cornstarch can be used to hold the surface together to prevent cracks.

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