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Recipe

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap & Pecan Crust

Judi Rutz

Servings: fourteen.

I discovered just how astonishingly good pumpkin is when not obscured by cinnamon and ginger when I tasted a pumpkin mousse prepared by Jehanne Burch at the Castle Hill Inn & Resort in Newport, Rhode Island. Her mousse contained only pumpkin, sugar, heavy cream, and gelatin. It was a revelation. If you use an electric mixer, start by beating the cream cheese with the whisk attachment until it’s very smooth, and then add the cooked pumpkin mixture and the remaining ingredients.

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 4-1/4 oz. gingersnap cookies (about 17 two-inch cookies), broken into pieces
  • 2 oz. (1/2 cup) pecans, toasted
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 pinches table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin purée (I like Libby’s)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 lb. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks

For the garnish:

  • About 24 pecan halves, toasted

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 430
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 310
  • Fat (g): 35
  • Saturated Fat (g): 18
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Cholesterol (mg): 150
  • Sodium (mg): 200
  • Carbohydrates (g): 26
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 6

Preparation

  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×21/2-inch or higher springform pan.

Make the crust:

  • In a food processor, process the cookies with the pecans, sugar, salt, and cinnamon (if using) until the cookies become fine crumbs, about 20 seconds. Add the melted butter and pulse about 10 times, just until incorporated. (Alternatively, put the cookies in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into fine crumbs. Grind the nuts finely but not to a powder. In a medium bowl, combine all the crust ingredients except the butter and toss with a fork to blend. Stir in the melted butter and toss to incorporate.)
  • Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, press the mixture into the base of the prepared pan and partway up the sides. Use a flat-bottomed, straightsided glass to smooth the crumbs over the bottom and farther up the sides (but not all the way to the top). Be sure to press the bottom thoroughly so that the crumbs are evenly distributed. Lay plastic wrap over the crumbs to keep them from sticking to your fingers, and use your fingers to continue pressing the crust to a thin, even layer. Wrap the outside of the pan with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil to prevent leaking. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Make the filling:

  • In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the pumpkin purée and sugar. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a sputtering simmer, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has darkened and thickened to the consistency of applesauce, about 5 minutes.
  • Scrape the mixture into a large food processor and process for 1 minute. with the feed tube open (so steam can escape), scraping down the sides. With the motor running, add the chilled cream. Add the softened cream cheese and process for 30 seconds or until smoothly incorporated, scraping down the sides two or three times. Add the eggs and yolks and process for about 5 seconds, just until incorporated.

Bake the cheesecake:

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan in a larger pan (a 12×2-inch cake pan or a roasting pan) and surround it with 1 inch of very hot water. Check that the oven is at 350°F and bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven without opening the door and let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour. Transfer the cake to a rack (the center will still be jiggly) and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. .

Umold, garnish, and slice:

  • Be sure the cheesecake is thoroughly chilled. Have ready a serving plate and another flat plate that’s at least as wide as the springform and covered in plastic wrap. Wipe a hot, damp cloth around the outside of the ring (or use a hair dryer). Run a metal spatula or a thin knife inside the ring. Release and gently loosen the ring and then lift it off. Set the plate with the plastic wrap on top of the cheesecake and carefully invert the pan. Heat the base of the springform with a hot, damp cloth or hair dryer and lift it off. Set the serving plate lightly on the bottom of the cheesecake (which is now facing up) and reinvert the cake. Lift off the plastic-wrapped plate.
  • Arrange the pecan halves around the perimeter of the cake. To cut neat slices, use a sharp, thin-bladed knife dipped in hot water (shake off excess drops) between each slice.

Reviews

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Reviews (6 reviews)

  • user-2434345 | 04/23/2019

    I really enjoyed this. A nice spring dessert for an Easter turkey supper. I must have done something wrong, I don’t make much cheesecake. The filling was grainy and I’m wondering if anyone may be able to tell me what went wrong? I will say was super tasty, but texture of the filling was off and from other reviews of it being light and mousse like....that’s what I was looking for. Thanks.

  • MarthaBoy | 12/25/2018

    I too have been making this recipe since it’s original printing in fine cooking. This recipe and fine cooking introduced me to Rose and her amazing cookbook The Cake Bible. I won’t make any other cheesecake that’s not her recipe. Cordon Rose Cream Cheesecake can be found that book and it’s my all time favourite. I don’t like cheesecakes with that dense texture anymore, not after being shown how creamy and smooth a cheesecake can be. Not only did Rose Levy Beranbaum teach me how to make a proper cheesecake, she taught me a lot about cakes in general. Her recipes are very specific with detailed instructions, making a recipe of hers is like taking a baking class. One thing I learned is not to over beat my batters, my cakes were always overly domed because of that. Back to the recipe, it always WOWS my guests. Shoukd you want to feel like the super star at your next dinner party?? Then let Rose show you how to accomplish that. Perfection

  • User avater
    sittapygmaea | 11/09/2010

    A great recipe I have been making on and off for thanksgiving since the original issue came out. I love pumpkin, but hate that 'pumpkin pie spice' flavor, so this was a revelation to me way back then-- a sweet pumpkin dish that didn't mostly taste like cinnamon and cloves. The food processor is also a great cheesecake tool that makes a smooth but not over-aerated batter. I disagree with the previous reviewer that said this was mousse-like; it's the creamier side of cheesecake-dom rather than the gummier, stick-to-roof-of-your-mouth side (all to the good, in my opinion), but it's not at all airy or mousse like. I prefer to increase the pumpkin (or roasted butternut squash) by 50% to give it a stronger pumpkin flavor, which also makes it a bit stiffer and easier to cut. (This is one cheesecake that really must be fully chilled.) I also like to make it with crispier cookies like nut-shortbread rather than gingersnaps-- even prefer it without spice in the crust, but as written it is a nice compromise for the spice-lovers and spice-haters. A great, rich but not too sweet thanksgiving dessert.

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