Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust | Serves 16
Be prepared for one very large, irresistible cheesecake that is perfect for Thanksgiving as an alternative to pumpkin pie. The filling is rich and smooth, combines nicely with the crunch and sweetness of the gingersnap cookie crust. It’s okay to reduce the cream cheese by using ricotta cheese for a lighter texture. It’s best to make this cake in the morning or the day before, so it can chill before serving. The topping is optional, yet will give it a beautiful presentation.Print
12 ounces Gingersnap cookies – crushed to 2½ cups crumbs
¼ cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1½ pound (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
5 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the cookies until they are small crumbs and add the sugar. Slowly pour in the melted butter, and blend until crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan and press with your hand to evenly cover the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool while you prepare the filling.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until blended and smooth. Unless the cream cheese is really soft, this may involve using a rubber spatula to press it out of the center. While the mixer is running, beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the pumpkin, cream, vanilla, and rum.
Pour the cream cheese filling into the crust. Place the cake on the middle rack, and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes in the pan, on a wire rack.
Turn the oven up to 450°F.
Whisk together the sour cream, sugar, vanilla and spices in a small bowl. Spread the sour cream topping evenly over the top and return cheesecake to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and again cook on the wire rack for 30 minutes or an hour, then refrigerate for several hours, or overnight, to completely chill.
When ready to serve, run a sharp knife between the cake and the side of the pan before releasing the springform. Keep the cake on the bottom part of the spring form and place on a decorative cake plate.