Pumpkin Cheesecake (Warning: To Die For)

Not having dessert on the holidays is like your favorite book not having a final chapter. It is a must, a closer, an ending to a great meal. Pumpkin pie is usually served on Thanksgiving (and Christmas) because it is delicious and we don’t get the opportunity to indulge in pumpkin-flavored things any other time of the year. However, I created a game changer with this pumpkin cheesecake. It is a hit!

We recently celebrated our “Friendsgiving” where everyone is in charge of bringing something different to the dinner table. Basically it is a pot luck with lots of booze. Some people’s dishes are better than others as not everyone partakes in home cooking. My boyfriend who has years of experience in the culinary world is always in charge of the turkey… naturally. He gives that 20 lb. bird the best brine and fry of it’s life. Talk about juicy. Then, to top it all off, he uses extra turkey parts (he he) to create the richest, most flavorful gravy you have ever tasted.

My job each year is the stuffing. Well, it is usually a battle between the stuffings between me and our other friend. My stuffing is made with diced up crusty pieces of sourdough bread while his is made of cornbread. Two totally different recipes that are both equally delicious. I can’t wait to re-create my stuffing recipe for my family in just a couple of days… it was to die for. *Recipe coming soon.*

My other task which I took upon myself was to also supply dessert. I LOVE me some pumpkin pie but I figured everyone could use a little switch-a-roo. Therefore, I created this pumpkin cheesecake that I found on one of my absolute favorite websites, Bon Appetit. Whoever originally created this recipe deserves a medal of honorary dessert award.

Special Equipment Needed: 9″ Springform Pan

Important Notes: Eggs, Cream Cheese & Mascarpone MUST be at room temp. (or else you’ll get a lumpy batter)

For the Pie Crust & Brittle:

9oz Gingersnap Cookies (about 36 cookies)

3/4th tsp kosher salt, divided

6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter

1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

3 Tbsp maple syrup

For the Filling:

1 15oz can pumpkin puree

4 large eggs, room temperature

3 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out

24 oz. cream cheese (3 8oz packs), room temperature

8oz. mascarpone, room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the gingersnap cookies with 1/4 tsp salt until they are small crumbs. Then, add the 6 Tbsp melted butter and pulse until the crumbs resemble a wet sand. Using your hands or the bottle of a measuring cup, press the crust mixture onto the bottom and 2″ up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

For the pepita brittle, toss the pepitas with remaining 1/2 tsp salt and maple syrup. Spread into an even layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the pepitas are bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Using a stand mixer, combine the pumpkin puree, whole eggs, egg yolks, light brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, ground ginger, and salt until smooth. Then, add the vanilla bean seeds, cream cheese and mascarpone until the mixture is smooth, creamy and free of lumps. *This step might require you switch from the paddle to the whisk attachment.*

Pour the filling onto the pre-baked crust. Wrap the bottom and the sides of the pan tightly in foil. Then, place the pan into a large roasting pan. Pour very hot water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the cheesecake pan’s sides. *This is known as a water bath for even cooking.*

Bake the cheesecake for 85 – 100 minutes. You will know when it’s ready if you shake the cheesecake slightly and the center is not wobbly. The cake will still firm up as it cools. Once it is removed from the oven, allow the cheesecake to sit in the water bath for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the bath and let cool completely, about 3 hours. The cheesecake needs to come to full room temperature before it goes into the refrigerator to avoid cracking on top.

Chill cheesecake until cool and firm, about 3-4 hours. Sprinkle with the pepita brittle before serving.

I think you and your family will love this recipe. Have a Happy & Yummy Thanksgiving!!

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