CHEW THIS! Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust


The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 1st 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Friends share love of food, memories and cheesecake…
Blaise Doubman

I’ve always had a love of food. For as far back as I remember, some of my earliest thoughts, and let’s be honest here, most frequent, always revolved around food, eating, recipes, and ingredients. I remember sitting in my Kindergarten class, with Mrs. Sweigart (still one of my favorite teachers), and thinking about milk break and wondering who was going to bring in cookies and what kind they would be. It continued well into my high school years, when the main conversation in Mrs. Child’s Biology class wasn’t the study of life and living organisms, but instead – food. My friend Mallory and I would get the whole class involved in what we had currently tried to make in our kitchens, how it turned out, what to try differently the next time and promising to bring samples in for everyone in the class. It may have been the first “Biology / Food Class” ever.

Years passed, and Mallory and I lost touch. It wasn’t until just a couple of years ago we found each other again on Facebook. Immediately it was like we had never spent a minute apart. The conversation went right back to food, and sharing our love of unique recipes and seasonal ingredients. Mallory lives in North Carolina now, with a beautiful life and family and continues her love of food by whipping up cheesecakes for family and friends. We call ourselves “foodie friends” and occasionally send each other packages full of homemade food goodies. About a year ago she sent me some of the best homemade jams and jellies I think I’ve ever had! Recently though, I asked if she would share a seasonal cheesecake recipe with me. She was more than delighted and agreed to create something for me, and exclusively for this column. Within a couple of weeks, she sent to me a recipe and photo for “Pumpkin Cheesecake”. I’ve tried it a few times, and let me tell you – this is what I’m recommending everyone to make this Holiday season! It’s a delicious “show stopping” dessert that people will absolutely go crazy over!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust

This recipe was provided and inspired by my friend Mallory Ashton Lee Shavender. I added the addition of white granulated sugar in the crust as well as salt. I also added a little salt in the cheesecake base. I found that topping the cheesecake with whipped cream and candied pecans really brought together the flavors. To make homemade whipped cream beat 2 cups heavy whipping cream until peaks form and gently stir in one tablespoon each pure vanilla extract and white granulated sugar. Before starting, make sure that all ingredients are at solid room temperature.

For the crust…

1 box (16 oz.) gingersnap cookies
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For the cheesecake…

4 8oz. packages cream cheese (32 oz. total)
2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup sour cream
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 heaping tablespoons white all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon salt

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a springform pan by wrapping the bottom and sides with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the inside of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl with a wooden spoon (or food processor) crush the gingersnap cookies until fine, and add in the melted butter, light brown sugar, white granulated sugar and salt. Thoroughly combine this mixture and pour into prepared pan. Lightly press and form the crust into the bottom of the pan, and up the sides. Place this in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Once baked, remove and set aside.

In a large bowl with a wooden spoon (or stand mixer) combine the cream cheese and light brown sugar well before beating in the sour cream, pumpkin puree, pure vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and white all-purpose flour. Once combined, add in the large eggs one at a time until well blended, adding in the large egg yolk last. Finally, stir in the salt and combine everything thoroughly.

Place the crust filled springform pan into a large roasting pan, and pour the filling into the crust. Next, fill the roasting pan with hot boiling water, until the water reaches about the middle of the springform pan. This is essential in creating a “water bath” for the cheesecake. Carefully place into preheated oven for 80 minutes. You will be able to tell when it’s done by seeing that the middle is still a little wobbly, but about an inch from the sides will be firm to the touch. Once it’s finished baking, turn the oven off and crack the door. Allow to sit in the oven like this for one hour, before removing from the oven. Take the cheesecake out of the water bath, and remove the foil. Allow to sit on the counter for another hour before placing in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

After allowing to bake, rest and chill carefully remove the springform pan from the cheesecake, leaving the cheesecake on the base and moving it to a plate. Finished! Store in refrigerator, but when ready to serve, bring to room temperature. Top, if desired, with whipped cream, candied pecans and a dusting of cinnamon for taste and flavor.


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