Dive into pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust

Pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust could be a new addition to the Thanksgiving table. Courtesy photo

TEMECULA – Pumpkins are readily available in fall, when people carve jack-o’-lanterns out of pumpkins for Halloween or serve up pumpkin pie after a hearty Thanksgiving dinner.

People who are unsatisfied with plain old pumpkin pie can add something new to their repertoire this fall by cooking up the following recipe for pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust, courtesy of Lori Longbotham’s book “Luscious Creamy Desserts,” published by Chronicle Books.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Serves 8 to 10

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche, homemade (see below) or store-bought or sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter an 8-inch or 8 1/2-inch springform pan.

To make the crust, stir together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Increase the oven temperature to 425 F.

To make the filling, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the cream cheese, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large deep bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, adding the egg yolks one at a time and beating well after each addition. Add the flour and pumpkin pie spice and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the pumpkin puree, creme fraiche and vanilla and beat until just combined. Pour the filling into the shell.

Place the cheesecake on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250 F and continue baking for 1 hour.

Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Then transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for at least 10 hours, until thoroughly chilled and set or for up to two days.

To serve, run a knife around the side of the cheesecake and remove the side of the pan. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature, cut into thin wedges with a sharp knife dipped into hot water and wiped dry after each cut.

Creme Fraiche

  • Makes about 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream with live cultures

Pour the cream into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and spoon in the creme fraiche. Let sit on the counter, with the lid slightly ajar, until the mixture thickens, from four hours to 24 hours, depending on the weather. Refrigerate, tightly covered, until ready to use.

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