Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Holy cheesecake! I just keep getting better and better at these delicate and creamy desserts. Cheesecake was one of the first “adventurous” desserts I tried as a beginner baker and it is still one of my favorites to make. My parents are having an Oktoberfest party today and I knew a cheesecake was REQUIRED. Eight months ago I had made a Baileys Irish Cream cheesecake with a Guinness glaze for their annual St. Patrick’s Day party. Unfortunately I did not have the time to blog that one… guess I’ll just have to make it again!

Anyways, back to the pumpkin cheesecake. This recipe I found in an issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. I completely trust any recipe I try from them. They spend hours and hours retesting and reformulating recipes until they are perfect. Then they share the final recipe in their magazines. This cheesecake requires the addition of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to the graham cracker crust in addition to the pumpkin and spices you add to the actual cheesecake.

I’ve found that the hot water bath method when baking cheesecake results in the best tasting and most creamy cheesecake versus just baking the cheesecake in the oven by itself. This is a technique I will always use when making cheesecake. Another big tip about cheesecake is removing it from the oven when the middle just barely jiggles. Do not wait for it to crack then it is overbaked! Cheesecake is a dessert that takes a few attempts to master, but the results are well worth the work. This spiced pumpkin cheesecake is perfect for Oktoberfest.


Rating 5/5


Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Oven Temp: 325°F

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes for crust; 1 1/2 hours for cheesecake

For the crust:
9 whole graham crackers, broken into large pieces
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted


For the filling:
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 1/2 pounds (2 1/2 packages) cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice from 1 lemon
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
For the filling, bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside.
To dry pumpkin: Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.
In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.
Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling
water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150°F on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (see note). Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving, then cut into wedges and serve.

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