Pumpkin Cheesecake

Yesterday was one of those rare Sundays where I woke up with absolutely nothing on my to-do list. It was wonderful to be able to spend the day doing things I wanted to do vs. things I HAD to do.

I decided that I was in the mood to bake something “Fall” themed to go along with a pot roast for dinner. I opened my favorite book of cheesecake recipes “I Love Cheesecake” by Mary Crownover and fell upon the Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Cheesecake is a delicate dessert that really requires a full 4-8 hours to perfect, so it was great I had my day free.

To start, set all your ingredients out until they reach room temperature. This is important as it can really mess up the end result. Also, preheat your oven to 350.

The recipe I had called for a sugar cookie crust, but I wanted something with more spice to match the pumpkin, so I bought some ginger snaps.

Run 20 cookies through the food processor until crumbly then combine 2 cups of the cookie crumbs with five tablespoons of melted butter until it has a thick texture.

Then press the crust into the bottom of a greased spring form pan until the entire bottom is covered.

To make the filling, start by beating 32 oz. regular cream cheese, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup regular sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla and three tablespoons corn starch until smooth. Next add four eggs and one egg yolk one at a time, beating thoroughly after each egg.

Once smooth, stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. Then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract. This is the step that gives the cheesecake a TON of yummy fall flavor, so don’t skimp on the spices!

Finally, fold in 8-10 oz pumpkin filling. I prefer a less sweet and more savory cheesecake, so I opted for pure pumpkin filling vs. pumpkin pie filling. The difference is about 20 grams of sugar!

Pour the filling on top of the crust and spread around until even with a wooden spoon. Place it on a cookie sheet (spring form pans can leak) and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

While it’s cooking, whisk one cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to make a yummy sour vanilla topping. Don’t skip this part…it really takes the cheesecake from good to WOW!

After the 3o minute timer goes off, take the cheesecake out and pour the sour vanilla topping on top. Carefully spread it around as far as you can to the edges. Don’t worry if it messes up that “perfect” cheesecake look…it’s more important that it TASTES good!

Turn the oven down to 200 and place the cheesecake back inside for 2 hours. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to prevent the cake from cracking while it cools.

Turn the over completely off and let the cake sit in it for another 2 hours. Chill for 4-8 hours or preferably overnight.

We couldn’t wait that long (of course) and cut into ours about four hours into chilling, but the end result was still amazingly delicious.

The rich, spicy pumpkin taste perfectly crossed with the sour vanilla topping to create a lovely fall celebration in my mouth. I was so impressed with this cheesecake, I’m planning to make it again at Thanksgiving!

I can’t wait to get home to eat that last piece I saved for left overs. :)