Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

OK – The most appropriate way that I can phrase this is that something magical was happening in my mouth when I took my first bite of this. O-M-G !!  This homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust is to die for. Top it with homemade whipped cream, roasted pecans, and homemade caramel drizzle and watch out! The perfect combination of a creamy pumpkin spice, hint of sweetness, and a buttery crust with pizzaz  put this dessert above the rest. The toppings simply make something great even better. Who said too much of a good thing is bad? I'm here to tell you that too much of a good thing is oh soooo good. 
I am a traditional type of gal. My husband usually drives when we are both in the car, I like dinner set at the table every night, and I make a popcorn string on my Christmas Tree every year just like my Grandpa always did...fashionable or not, it's tradition.  

But this? This is different. This decadent cheesecake is definitely replaces my traditional Pumpkin Pie on the holidays! It's one of my new favorites. I made it last year for Thanksgiving and posted it with the Thanksgiving Menu. I went to look for the recipe and found that this very deserving recipe did not have a post of it's own! Shame on me. This Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Ginger Snap Crust should be easily accessible to everyone, especially now that we are in the midst of pumpkin season. 

It broke my heart a little to break tradition last year and replace the good ole American Pumpkin Pie. Not for flavor, because I am not really a pumpkin pie fan. I made it every year purely for the fact of "tradition". Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust tastes so much better. I couldn't help myself but make the switch-a-roo. I suppose it doesn't hurt to start a few of your own traditions. 

Let.Me.Tell.You! Try this recipe! It is the You can bet your bottom dollar that when I am a little old lady, I will still be cranking out Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust when Autumn rolls around.

1. It can be made ahead of time. 
2. Homemade cheesecake is NOT as hard as you may think. 
3. Be sure you feed a crowd. If you don’t, you will find yourself sneaking pieces 
    before bed every night till it’s gone....all to your full belly's credit.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Topped w/ homemade whipped cream, roasted pecans, and a homemade caramel drizzle. 
(All recipes included, and EASY. All can be made ahead of time for fast and simple assembly when serving. Purchased whipped cream and caramel drizzle can be used but I recommend homemade.)

Prep Time: 30 min
Baking Time: 2 hr

Cheesecake Crust:
- 3 1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps  
- 7 tablespoons melted butter

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
- 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, soft at room temperature  
- 1 cup Extra Fine Granulated White Sugar
- ½ cup Brown Sugar firmly packed
- 4 large eggs
- 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 full teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel Drizzle:
- ½ cup Brown Sugar firmly packed  
- ¾ cup whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 full tablespoon vanilla extract 

Whipped Cream:
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream   
- 1 packet of Splenda (or any sweetener of your choice) 
- 1 TB Vanilla

- 1-2 cups of chopped nuts of choice for sprinkling. I suggest Pecans or Walnuts.

Preheat oven to 325°F.
  1. To make cheesecake crust, use a food processor to crush gingersnaps to obtain 3 1/2 cups. Add melted butter and combine well. Use a drinking glass to press the crust firmly into the bottom of a Pam sprayed 10-inch diameter spring form pan and place in the oven for 11 minutes.
  2. When cool enough to handle, place pan on 3 layers of aluminum foil and wrap outside of pan with foil. Ensure that no water could penetrate through foil. Place pan in a roasting pan and set aside.
  3. To make pumpkin cheesecake, beat softened cream cheese and both sugars on low speed until well blended with no lumps. Scrape bowl well.
  4. Add one egg at a time waiting for previous added amount to be fully incorporated. Scrape bowl and beater well in between additions.
  5. Add pumpkin, spices and vanilla and mix to combine - do not beat, just mix by hand. (Don't over beat the cream cheese mixture.) Pour into the spring form pan over the ginger crust. Pour water into roasting pan around the cheesecake pan, about an inch high. Be sure not to splash any of the water onto the cheesecake. Place in the oven.
  6. Bake pumpkin cheesecake 2 hrs at 325 until the center of the cake no longer trembles.
  7. Pull roaster out of oven and pull out your cheesecake. Allow cheesecake to cool on a rack at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Place cooled cheesecake in refrigerator overnight or for a couple days until ready to eat. Bring your cake out of refrigerator about an hour before serving to bring it to room temperature. Remove outside of spring form pan.
  8. Toast pecans or walnuts for 8 minutes in a 350°F oven if desired and then store in an airtight container until ready to use. (Can be toasted a day or two ahead of time)
  9. To make the caramel drizzle,  boil the brown sugar, whipping cream, butter, sea salt, and vanilla for 3 minutes stirring continually, ensuring that mixture will not boil over. Remove from heat and let cool.Store in a tiny Ziploc in Fridge until ready to serve. Then cut a tiny corner off your bag and squeeze the caramel out of the corner of the bag to drizzle. (Can be made a day or two ahead of time)
  10. To make homemade whipped cream, chill your mixer bowl and beater in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Attach chilled bowl and beater to mixer. Add about 2 - 2 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and a packet of Splenda (or sweetener of your choice) into the chilled bowl. Beat at high speed for a few minutes until it becomes whipped cream. 
  11. Taste test it. If it is not sweet enough for you, add another packet of Splenda. Store in another little Ziploc in fridge for up to 2 days until ready to use. Then cut the tiny corner off and use the bag to pipe on the whipped cream in a fashionable pattern.
  12. Run a sharp knife around edge and bottom of cheesecake in pan to remove from pan. Use a sharp knife to cut as desired. 
  13. When ready to eat squeeze the caramel, and whipped cream on and sprinkle the nuts and wahlaa! Beautiful, fuss free, homemade cheesecake - all made ahead of time. Your guest will be so impressed! Little will they know that you prepared this all up to 2 days in advance!


  1. This is my favorite crust for pumpkin cheesecake. Winner!

  2. I don't know if you will see this since this recipe is a few years old, but I had a request. I made this for my husband's birthday one year (he is an early november baby), and since then my family and my husband request it every Thanksgiving or Christmas. lol. Which I agree, it is the best recipe I've ever had. This year, my husband wants me to make it for his birthday again, but I want to surprise him and mix it up. Is there anyway this recipe can be made into "cupcakes"? If so, how would you adapt the recipe? I would so appreciate your help and hope you see this!!!