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Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust

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Serves sixteen.

Yields one 9-inch cheesecake.

  • To learn more, read:
    Great Pumpkin Desserts
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 60

This cheesecake is a luxurious twist on the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

For the gingersnap crust:
  • About 40 gingersnap wafers (to yield 2 cups cookie crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 oz. (5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
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
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
  • One 15-oz. can pure solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Make the crust: Pulse the cookies and brown sugar in a food processor until well combined and the crumbs are uniform. Transfer to a medium bowl; add the melted butter. Combine thoroughly, first with a spoon and then with your fingers, until the mixture is evenly moist, crumbly, and holds together when you squeeze a handful. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9-inch 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 or a wooden spoon, beat the cream cheese until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Add this 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.

Scrape the batter into the cooled crust. The batter will come up past the crust and will fill the pan to the rim. Tap the pan gently once or twice on the counter to release any air bubbles. Set the pan in a larger baking dish (a roasting pan is good), and add enough hot water from the kettle to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the top of the cake looks deep golden and burnished and the center is set (the cake may just barely begin to crack), 1 hour 35 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. The cake will jiggle a little bit when tapped. The top may rise a bit but will settle as it cools. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a thin-bladed knife between the crust and the pan sides (this will prevent the cake from breaking as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill overnight.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 16 servings; Calories (kcal): 410; Fat (g): fat g 27; Fat Calories (kcal): 240; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 16; Protein (g): protein g 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 36; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 320; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 155; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made this cheesecake instead of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. Followed the recipe to a T. Baked for 1 hr , 45 mins. It was absolutely divine! If you like cheesecake and want to make something besides the standard pumpkin pie this year you must try this. You will not be disappointed!

Creamy and delicious. I never want to make pumpkin pie again. It's the perfect holiday dessert. I use organic pumpkin, organic cream cheese, pasture fed eggs and butter, and all natural ginger snap cookies. I wrap the pan in heavy duty foil to prevent water from getting into the crust. I wouldn't change a thing.

I have made this cheesecake dozens of times for friends and family. I have never had a complaint. This cheesecake recipe is boss!

Excellent recipe! I first made this in 2009 and have made it for every holiday dinner since. Even folks who don't like cheese cake have loved this desert.

This was wonderful! I used 2 reduced fat and 2 regular cream cheese and turned out perfect. The only down side was that putting the springform pan directly into the pan of hot water made the crust soggy... The way a springform pan is made, it is not completely air tight - so the water soaked into the seams and as I was cooling it, it continued to drip out of the bottom and side. Next time, I would just set the pan of hot water on the bottom rack in the oven below the cake as it bakes.

I can't wait to try this! Has anyone tried using half fat-free cheese?

Fabulous! I'm addicted. Each Friday I make one and eat the entire cake. Since Thanksgiving I've made 17. Devour it all, doused with real maple syrup-flavored, OR brown sugared, whipped cream & toasted pecans. Prior to baking, I lay candied ginger on crust. Also add a tablespoon of microplane-grated fresh ginger and sometimes a couple teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Instead of the 15 oz. can I use a 29 oz. can of pumpkin but drain the liquid out of it by dumping it onto a thick towel that is covered with paper towel (paper towel peels off easily). Freezing pumpkin 1st really makes it release liquid! Also add an extra egg & a cup of cream (sour or whipping cream). Also like to add a dash of cloves & ground cardamon. Sometimes I bake the filling in baking dishes, sans crust, then serve it with homemade pie crust strips for crunch. Perfect, anyway I make it. TIP: Before filling the crust, wrap springform pan with 2 layers of wide foil. Shortly before done, shut off oven & open door to allow water bath to cool slightly to prevent burns. Enjoy with lots of whipped cream.

Absolutely amazing!!! I made it to take to a friends house and everyone loved it. So creamy and the flavor was delicious!

DIVINE! Had it for Christmas Dinner and it was a huge hit..light and very tasty! Was able to freeze it in 2 person helpings, and have enjoyed it every since!

This was really delicious. A true pumpkin cheesecake. My family isn't huge on spices, so the only ones I used were the fresh grated nutmeg and cinnamon. That really brought out the flavor of the pumpkin without over-doing it. It was a big hit.

By following the recipe exactly, I made my very first cheesecake that neither sank in the middle nor cracked too badly. The flavor is wonderful and the texture is creamy. Amazing recipe.

awesome, a wondeful alternative to pumpkin pie!

This recipe is amazing. I make it every year because if I don't everyone is devastated. I always make more of the crust part than it calls for because it it the best part of the cake. I also make a caramel-bourbon sauce to go with it that is to die for. Here is the link to that recipe. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/SPICED-PUMPKIN-CHEESECAKE-WITH-CARAMEL-BOURBON-SAUCE-233179

I will never make pumpkin pie again. I would give this six stars if I could. The gingersnap crust really adds to the flavor. It is my favorite cheesecake that I make (and I make a lot). Like another poster, I have to make this every year. There is only one problem with this cheesecake: no leftovers!

My family loved this.

I have made this every year since the article in 2003. Everyone looks forward to this amazingly special treat (including me)!

My family raved about this last Thanksgiving and begged me to make it again this year!

I have tried this recipe and it is beyond incredible! I served it at a dinner party and everybody raved about it and asked me to bring to other gatherings. Every recipe I try from "Fine Cooking" is perfect.

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