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Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I am not a huge fan of the classic pumpkin pie that everyone serves after Thanksgiving dinner so about 7 years ago I started making a pumpkin cheesecake instead. Now my husband requests it every year. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 1/4 cups crushed gingersnap cookie crumbs (in a pinch I'll substitute graham cracker crumbs)
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp melted butter
4 8oz pkgs cream cheese, very soft
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs, room temp

Oven 350 degrees
Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cookie/cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of nonstick 9" spring-form pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next one.
Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening)
Take out of the oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving. 
*Drizzle with caramel sauce or serve with a dollop of whipped cream garnished with a pecan and a shake of cinnamon.

Notes**In order to prevent the top from cracking, be careful not to overmix the batter. As tempting as it may be,  do not open the oven door while the cake is baking or cooling inside the oven!