Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is fabulous and beautiful with the speckling of spice. It’s also not as overpowering as a standard pumpkin pie may be to some.

Picture at left is pre-baked in a water bath.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. white sugar

Cream Cheese Filling:
3 8-oz. pkgs. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (NOT lite, NOT low fat)
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (not imitation, please)
1 cup canned pumpkin (Libby’s is the best)
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the cream cheese and eggs on your counter for at least 30 minutes while the oven is preheating.

Make the crust by combining all the crust ingredients into a medium bowl and stir well with a fork. Empty this into the springform pan and gently shake and tap the pan on the counter to distribute the crumbs. Gently press the crumbs into the bottom and just a tad up the sides of the pan as you turn the pan. Bake the crust for 5 minutes then set aside to cool. Wrap the springform pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil – you will be baking the cake in a water bath (no cracks) and this will prevent spillages.  Place the wrapped springform pan inside a large pan with high sides (such as a roasting pan).

Now make the filling – in a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and the vanilla. Mix until smooth – about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, eggs, and spices and continue to mix for about 1 more minute.

Pour the batter into the pan. Slowly and gently fill the larger pan with hot water (6-8 cups, depending on the size of your large pan) until it comes about halfway up the sides of the spring form pan. Place the whole thing into the oven and bake for 60 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. After 60 minutes, turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the closed oven for 1 hour.

Remove springform pan from larger pan (don’t remove the foil) and place pan on a rack for about 3 hours to cool. Now remove the foil and place cheesecake (springform and all) on a plate, then place another plate on top of the springform pan as a cover and place in the fridge at least overnight so it can set. Remove sides before cutting.

Cheesecake

Cheesecake is so easy to make and this is a basic, plain cheesecake that doesn’t have a crust because they become moist the next day. Also, it needs at least a 12 hour fridge set so plan on making this a day in advance; it’s well worth the wait. Sprinkling the graham cracker crumbs on top of each individual piece is a crust alternative.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a springform pan. Wrap the springform pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil – you will be baking the cake in a water bath (no cracks) and this will prevent spillages. Place the wrapped springform pan inside a larger pan with high sides (such as a roasting pan).

Take the cream cheese, eggs & sour cream out of the fridge and place them on the counter while the oven preheats. This will take at least 30 minutes.

2 8 oz. pkgs. Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese (NOT lite, NOT low fat)
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh is best)
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (not imitation, please)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups sour cream

In a large mixing bowl (a heavy duty mixer works well here) beat the cream cheese and sugar until they are very smooth – this takes about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the cornstarch, then add the eggs 1 at a time and beat for the slow count of 10 after each one – scraping down the mixing bowl as needed. Now add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and beat these just until they are incorporated. Beat in the sour cream just until it is blended. Don’t over beat – this will create air bubbles.
Pour the batter into the pan. Slowly and gently fill the larger pan with hot water until it comes about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Place the whole thing into the oven and bake for 45 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the closed oven for 1 hour.

Remove springform pan to a rack so it can cool – takes about 2-3 hours. Then cover (remove the foil and place springform on a plate, then place another plate on top of the pan; I used to cover with plastic, but moisture droplets formed and plopped on top of the cheesecake, so I improvised) and place in the fridge at least overnight so it can set.