Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Ginger-Pecan Crust


I like making cheesecakes and I use cream cheese in other baking too, but generally speaking, I don’t like to eat cream cheese. I don’t schmear it on my bagels and I don’t usually eat cheesecake since I find some to be too "cream cheesy". About 10 years ago, after a fabulous meal at Postrio, we ordered the dessert sampler. If memory serves me, there was ice cream, chocolate cake, huckleberry tart and pumpkin cheesecake in the sampler that evening. My husband tasted the pumpkin cheesecake and told me that I might like it since it wasn’t too "cream cheesy". So I hesitantly took a tiny taste and another and another. It was the best cheesecake I’ve ever eaten! I could hardly taste any of that "cream cheesiness" that I don't like. Maybe it was masked by the pumpkin and the spices? Well, anyway, I’ve never forgotten that wonderful pumpkin cheesecake.

When cream puff Ivonne suggested that a few of us food bloggers do a cross-post featuring a recipe from Tish Boyle’s "The Cake Book", I was pretty excited that we decided on the creamy pumpkin cheesecake with a ginger-pecan crust. I mean, there are a lot of great recipes in this cookbook, but this particular recipe brought back memories of that Postrio cheesecake.

Despite popular belief, cheesecakes are actually pretty simple to make. All you really need is cream cheese, sugar and eggs. Even crust is optional if your custard (yes, cheesecake is technically a custard) is firm enough. But why wouldn’t you want to have a crust? This cheesecake’s crust is made from pastry dough as opposed to the more typical cookie crumb crust. The crust, with its combination of pecans and crystallized ginger, pairs exceptionally well with the slightly spicy pumpkin custard filling. I always bake my cheesecake in a water bath (or bain marie). The water protects the custard from cooking too quickly and ensures even, gentle baking throughout. The resulting filling is creamy and smooth. And, as an added benefit, cracking is never an issue.

The author says that this cheesecake is a "wonderful alternative to the pumpkin pie" served at Thanksgiving. Personally, I see nothing wrong with serving both pie and cheesecake for dessert! Thanks to Tish Boyle for a great recipe and make sure to visit Peabody, Kate and Ivonne to see their yummy cheesecakes.


Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger-Pecan Crust
(makes one 9-inch cheesecake)


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup (40g) chopped crystallized ginger
1/3 cup (54g) pecans
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, cold & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbsp cold water


1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 lbs (567g) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 large eggs, at room temp.

To make the crust

Position oven rack in the center and preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x3 inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil.

Place the flour, sugar, salt, ginger, and pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the pecans are finely ground. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add the cold water slowly until the dough just comes together. Press the dough into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust just starts to brown. Cool crust completely on a wire rack.

To make the filling

Reduce oven temperature to 325F. In a bowl, whisk together pumpkin, heavy cream, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugars and beat on low speed until smooth. Mix in the pumpkin mixture, then add the cornstarch and mix until just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and do a final mix by hand to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour the filling in the cooled crust. Set the still wrapped springform pan in a large roasting pan. Carefully pour enough hot water into the large pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes until the center is set but still a bit wobbly.

Remove cheesecake from water bath to a cooling rack. Carefully remove the foil and run a thin knife tip around the edge of the cake. This will loosen the cake and help prevent the top from cracking. Cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate the cooled cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.



clarice said...

Thank you Mary I was thinking of making a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving. Now I have a wonderful recipe. Clarice

Patricia said...


Just wanted to say that I "stumbled" upon your blog yesterday and everything here is beautiful (and looks yummy!).

Those Nutella cookies have my name written all over them. lol

Regards from Brazil,

Brilynn said...

I think that cheesecake could make anyone a cheesecake lover, it looks delicious!

peabody said...

I recognize that cheesecake :)
Great job! It really was a yummy tasting cheesecake.

Dianka said...

What perfection! It looks so fluffy and light, delicious!

Anonymous said...

Looks gorgeous! I think I would not be able to stop at one slice!

Alanna said...

Very cool y'all!

Ellie said...

Looks ultra-tasty, and awesome photography as well :)

Anonymous said...

I'm the same way with cream cheese. I can't stand it on its own, but if you disguise it in baking, I'm very happy. I'm slowly beginning to like plain cheesecakes, maybe it's one of those things you have to ease into, like drinking your coffee black. Anyway, this pumpkin one looks great!

Anonymous said...

looks gorgeous!

Ivonne said...

Oh, it looks so good! So good!

It's funny because when I was younger I don't think I ever particularly cared for cheesecakes either. They grew on me.

Thanks so much for taking part, Mary!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful... a pumpkin cheesecake!
I don't think I have tasted such a thing. Thanks for the recipe Mary, I will be sure this give this a go!

Stephanie Beack said...

Mary, looks gorgeous and what a great event! One of my favorites this time of year is butternut squash. What do you think -- would it work in this cheesecake too?

Abby said...

That is the most perfect cheesecake I've ever seen. I bow to you.

Does using a water bath mean you have to change the temperature? Or do you follow the specific temperature in the recipe you happen to be using?

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary said...

Everyone: Thanks for the nice comments!

StephanieB: Butternut squash would work nicely.

Abby: There's no need to change the oven temperature. Just use the one stated in the recipe. And be sure to wrap your pan tightly in 2 or 3 layers of foil to prevent water from seeping in.

Robyn said...

What a great blog you have here! Such lovely food! I'm definitely going to become a regular visitor, hehe. Hope to try out some of your recipes sometime.

Anonymous said...

looks absolutely divine. can i have a piece?

Mae said...

looks absolutely divine can i have a piece?

Stephanie said...

Mary, I didn't use butternut squash, I used kabocha squash this weekend and it turned out deliciously! Check it out and thanks for the ideas...

jules57 said...

Hi Mary!

Thanks for the wonderful pumpkin cheescake recipe! It really made our Canadian Thanksgiving special.
Thanks from Mark, Anita, Jennifer, Cait, Geoff, Mary & Dan...:D

Susan Banta said...

The photographs of your pumpkin cheesecake are amazing! How do you get such great food photography? I am just starting a cooking blog with my kids - alphabetsoup - based upon a program I created seven years ago. We haven't gone public yet. Still learning how to look professsional. Congratulations on your blog - it looks beautiful! I would love your advice.
Susan, also in the Bay Area - West Marin.

BRD said...

I love this pumpkin recipe.

Holly du Rivage said...

What a wonderful blog, beautiful and tempting too! I was looking for a pumpkin pecan cheesecake recipe, this looks great. I've got my own cookie club you may enjoy learning about. Here's the direct address:

Thanks for the recipe; I'll be back for more!

Holly in LA, CA.

Anonymous said...

Wow.....I have made many a cheesecake and this one was by far the simplest. I used a ginger snap cookie crust and it complimented the cake nicely. It truly was delicious!thank you so much for the wonderful addition to my book of baking faves!- Paulette

matigelmo said...

Es una lástima que mis conocimientos de inglés sean tan escasos y por lo tanto no puedo accder a las maravillas de ste blog. I'm sorry

magi said...

Your "Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake work is awesome!! I hope one day I'll be able to decorate like this!

Bain Maries