Pumpkin Cheesecake

Here’s Lucy – isn’t she cute!?  13 weeks old now and getting BIG.

Based on the title of this post, you probably were not expecting to see a featured image of my little puppy.   With the arrival of fall and return of all things pumpkin to local stores, I couldn’t resist using pumpkin as my first fall ingredient.  I made this cheesecake late one night to take to work for a Steelers Party (meh, Steelers…but hey, it’s a reason to bake for my co-workers…).  I was going to take a picture of the final product once I removed the cheesecake from the springform pan at work.

I took the pan off, went to get my camera, and when I returned the cheesecake was gone!  I was gone no more than 5 minutes!  Even though I do not have a picture of the final product, I hope you will take this as proof that it was yummy (at least that’s what I was told…I didn’t actually get to try a piece…)

This cheesecake starts with a spiced graham cracker crust.  Adjust the oven to 325 degrees and spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.  In a food processor, pulse the crackers, sugar, and spices until evenly and finely ground.  Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and drizzle the melted butter over, and mix until evenly moistened.  Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and spread into an even layer.  Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes.  Cool on wire rack while making filling.

For the filling, bring about 4 quarts of water to simmer in stockpot (this will be used as a hot water bath for the cheesecake later…).

Now comes the annoying part of drying out the pumpkin.  Apparently, canned pumpkin has a lot of extra moisture in it and its essential to obtain the proper texture that the pumpkin be as dry as possible.  To do so, line a baking sheet with a triple layer of paper towels.  Spread the pumpkin across the towels and cover with a second triple layer of paper towels.  Press until the towels are saturated with moisture.

Spread on triple layer of paper towel

Press until paper towels are saturated

Here comes the somewhat tricky part…Peel back the top layer of towels and discard.  Grasp the bottom layer of towels and fold the pumpkin in half, using a spatula or other thin tool to scrape down any stuck pumpkin.  Repeat and flip the pumpkin on to the baking sheet; discard towels.  Set the pumpkin aside until you are ready to incorporate into the filling.

Whisk the sugar, spices, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

In a standing mixer fitted with a flat beater, beat the cream cheese at medium speed for about one minute.  Scrape the beater, bottom, and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add 1/3 of the sugar mixture and beat on medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute.  Scrape the bowl and repeat with the next two sugar additions.

Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Scrape the bowl and add the three eggs, beating at medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Add the remaining two eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds.   Add the heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and give a final stir by hand.

Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan.

Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours.  Depending on the oven and the temperature of the ingredients, the cheesecake may bake about 15 minutes faster or slower than the instructions indicate; it is therefore best to check the cake 1 1/4 hours into baking.

Set the roasting pan on a wire rack and use a paring knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan.  Cool until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes.  Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil, and set on wire rack.  Continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least four hours or up to three days.


  • 5 ounces graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (10 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  •   1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese , cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 5 large eggs , left at room temperature, about 30 minutes
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 12 to 16

Original Recipe, America’s Test Kitchen, Season 5: Pumpkin Cheesecake

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Recipes, Sweets

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2 Comments on “Pumpkin Cheesecake”

  1. September 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    That dog is so cute… probably one the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen. I can;t wait to get a dog 😀 Not for a few years though :(. shame. The photos are so lovely. I love how many pumpkin recipes are making their way onto wordpress at the moment. I need to try it out – I’ve never ever tried pumpkin. But, I guess they must taste very similar to squash.


  1. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting | Steeltown Delicious - October 16, 2011

    […] appealing after a day or two.  Next time I might try the pumpkin drying method I utilized in the Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe to get some of the excess moisture […]

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