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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pepita Brittle

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!

I love pumpkin pie and I love cheesecake… so it only made sense to combine the two. Fortunately, both desserts are very simple to prepare so you do not have to be an experienced baker to create this decadent dessert. Thanksgiving won’t feel the same for many of us this year, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t indulge a little bit. Treat yourself to a delicious, homemade dessert!

I recommend preparing this dessert recipe either the day prior to eating it or at least 6-8 hours in advance. Cheesecakes need an ample amount of time to cool down after baking before placing into the refrigerator to avoid cracking. This recipe may seem a bit intimidating with a lot of steps at first but I promise, it’s not so bad. If you want to skip the making a homemade crust part, simply purchase a pre-made graham cracker pie crust from the grocery store.

Happy Thanksgiving!

XX,

JJ

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pepita Brittle

A unique twist on the familiar pumpkin pie.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people

Equipment

  • Food Processor
  • Baking Sheet
  • Stand Mixer (or hand mixer)
  • 9" Springform Pan
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

Pie Crust

  • 9oz Gingersnap Cookies
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter melted

Pepita Brittle

  • 1 cup Raw Pepitas
  • 3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt

Cheesecake Filling

  • 1 15oz can Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 large Eggs room temperature
  • 3 large Egg Yolks room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 24 oz Cream Cheese room temperature
  • 8 oz Mascarpone room temperature

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • 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, press the crust mixture onto the bottom and 2" up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes
  • For the pepita brittle, toss the pepitas with 1/4 tsp salt and maple syrup. Spread into an even layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the pepitas are bubbly, about 5-8 minutes. *Keep a close eye as the pepitas can burn quickly.*
  • Using a stand mixer, combine the pumpkin puree, whole eggs, egg yolks, light brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt until smooth. Then, add the vanilla extract, 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 90 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 in the fridge until firm, about 4 hours. Sprinkle with the pepita brittle before serving. YUM!

Notes

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have the cream cheese and mascarpone at room temperature. This ensures the batter will be smooth – not lumpy. I recommend leaving the cream cheese & mascarpone out for 2 – 2.5 hours prior to preparation. 
*A food processor also works great to ensure a smooth, lump-free batter.* 
Keyword Thanksgiving

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