Meet the Sullivans: Almost-Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake

November 27, 2011

Almost-Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake

I was put in charge of bringing dessert to my grandpa's house for Thanksgiving this year. My sister, Kathee, usually claims dessert before I even think of it, but this year she let me have it. Thanks Kath! This recipe for pumpkin cheesecake is from Food Network Magazine. It was adapted and inspired by the Cheesecake Factory's pumpkin cheesecake recipe, which we've had before and loved. This was my first attempt at making cheesecake and I am very happy with the way it turned out. 
Almost-Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 9 hours 
Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Makes 12 servings 

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 3/4 cups sugar
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups sweetened whipped cream
1/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped (optional)  

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brush a 10-inch springform pan with some of the butter.

 Stir the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl.

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack, then wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil and place in a roasting pan. 

*I skipped the roasting pan part (I was baking at my mom's house and couldn't find her's), but learned about halfway through baking the cheesecale to put the springform pan on a cookie sheet so the butter won't drip into the bottom of the oven. 

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar and beat until just light, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed.

Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt and the spices and beat until just combined.

Pour into the cooled crust. 

This is my "cooled crust" pre-filling. As you can see the crust began to crumble a bit on the sides, which at first made me think I was failing, but it turned out fine. Once the cake was cooled it didn't matter.

Place the filled springfoam pan on a cookie sheet and gently place in the oven. Bake until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, then carefully remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edges, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. 

Bring the cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Unlock and remove the springform ring. To finish, place a dollop of the whipped cream on each slice and sprinkle with the toasted pecans, if you'd like. 

I always thought cheesecake would be too complicated to make, but it was so much easier (and fool proof!) than I had originally thought. My sister Kathee can tell you how I almost threw the whole thing out after the crust crumbled and the oven started smoking from the butter that was leaking through the springform pan. BUT, in the end it turned out FANTASTICALLY and my whole family enjoyed this dessert and I am so happy with how it turned out!


Kendall Jones said...

I have this saved in my massive 'to make' stack - good to hear it's gonna be tasty!

Unknown said...

I've bboarked this for Christmas. Thank you! Just wondering about the pot of water to boil? What is that for? Perhaps a water bath while baking? Can't wait to try this one.

Unknown said...

That should say bookmarked :) LOL

Colleen Sullivan said...

Hi Shari- The boiling water was for the roasting pan. I skipped the roasting pan part. I was baking at my mom's house and couldn't find her's. The roasting pan helps your cheesecake cook evenly. It will turn out fine without it, but it may have a crack or two like mine did.