Just one more pumpkin recipe before the season is officially over. (I haven’t quite determined if December 1st was the cutoff or not.)
A friend sent me this cheesecake recipe from Epicurious so I could make it for Thanksgiving, and it was insane. It got rave reviews across the board – a certified 5 Evil Rating. And it’s not just the creamy cheesecake layer that makes this dessert incredible, it also has a gingersnap crust, and a marshmallow sour cream topping. Get ready.
The recipe called for making this in a 9″ springform pan, but I had a 10″ one, and it was nearly overflowing with filling. If you have a smaller pan, I’d recommend not using all the filling. Also, please read through the entire recipe before making it – the recipe calls for chilling the cake overnight before adding the topping, so plan ahead.
PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE – Serves 12-16
for the crust:
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 2 cups gingersnap cookies (about 9oz)
- 1 cup pecans (about 3.5 oz)
- 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 2Tbsp chopped crystallized ginger (I skipped this)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter – melted
for the cake:
- 4 – 8oz packages cream cheese, room temp
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 – 15oz can pure pumpkin
- 5 large eggs, room temp
- 3 Tbsp AP flour
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
for the topping:
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup sour cream
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Remember – there was more than enough batter for a 10″ pan, even though the original recipe called for a 9″, but use what you have.Wrap aluminum foil around the bottom and outside of the springform pan, making sure to cover the seam. (I do this because the melted butter will ooze out once you’re baking, and it’s pretty greasy and messy. The aluminum will help trap it.) Then, spray the pan with nonstick spray. Make sure to get up the sides as well as on the base.
Using a food processor, grind your cookies, pecans, brown sugar, and ginger (if using), until nuts are finely ground. I ground the cookies first – you should probably crumble them, rather than putting them in whole, like I did – then added the remaining ingredients. Finally, add your melted butter and pulse until it’s blended in.
Pour the crumbs into your prepared pan, and press down across the bottom and 2″ up the sides. Try to get it as evenly spread as you can, but don’t go crazy over it. Bake the crust until set, and lightly browned – about 10 minutes. Then, let it cool completely.
While the crust is cooling, start on your filling. You can leave your oven on, or turn it off – but you’ll preheat it to 350ºF again to bake the cake. Beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the pumpkin. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing the vanilla in with the first one. In a small bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients – flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt – so they disperse evenly. Then add your dry ingredients in with the wet, and mix until just incorporated. Make sure to scrape along the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust, and bake until the filling is just set in the center.
Since my pan seemed super full, I set my first timer for 1 hour 2o minutes. The recipe says the cake should jiggle in the middle when it’s ready, but that didn’t seem like a logical gauge to me, as it was jiggling when it wasn’t raw. I went with my gut, and added an extra 10 minutes bake time. Pull it from the oven and let it cool for an hour. Then, run a knife around the sides of the pan to release the crust. Chill the cheesecake in the pan, uncovered, overnight.
The topping takes at least an hour to set, so I did it the next morning.
Stir marshmallows and milk in a medium saucepan, over low heat, until the marshmallows are melted. Here’s a lesson I learned the hard way – there is such a thing as an expired marshmallow. If you haven’t checked the expiration date on the package (but had bought a new one anyway, thankfully), you’ll notice the marshmallows will melt into a gummy/gluey consistency. (Also, when you try to add the sour cream, it will seize up.) This is not how it should look.
Fresh ‘mallows will melt into a liquid, and blend smoothly with the milk – like the pix below.
Remove the pan from heat, and stir in vanilla and salt. Let it cool to room temp, stirring occasionally. Lastly, fold in your sour cream. Here’s another tip – mix your sour cream a bit before spooning it out of the container. It will be more difficult to smooth out any lumps while you’re trying to delicately fold the ingredients together.
Pour the topping over the cake, and spread around the center, leaving about an inch at the edge. Pop it back into the fridge, uncovered, for at least an hour. When you’re ready to serve, remove the cake from the springform pan. I had some trouble with getting it open, and if you have the same problem, try running a knife around the edge of the crust.
I can’t get over how good this was. One friend even remarked that I should give this recipe to Cheesecake Factory to show them how it should be done. Each layer was a hit on its own – from the phenomenal crust, to the creamy cake, to the decadent topping. Please, please make this cake. And send me pictures, so I can relive the experience.
Do any of you have a favorite cheesecake recipe to share? I’m eager to make another one!