I have always been a huge fan of pumpkin pie and cheesecake, so the first time I heard about a pumpkin cheesecake, I was ecstatic. I have had pumpkin cheesecake at several restaurants, but had yet to make my own. For the crust, I used graham crackers and ginger snaps for more spice. I also added some pecans for more texture. For the filling, I added both cream cheese and ricotta. Ricotta cheesecakes are traditionally Italian, and here in the U.S., cream cheese is used more. I included the ricotta cheese to make my cheesecake lighter. Cheesecakes are very finicky too, I’ve made many that cracked, separated from the crust, turned out runny, or just not right. You have to make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, and for best results, all ingredients should be at room temperature. The eggs have to be added slowly, one at a time, and then the final batter can’t be over-mixed. While cooking, temperature variations will cause cracks, and it’s almost impossible to avoid them sometimes, the best thing is to try and minimize the size of the crack so that it can be easily camouflaged with toppings. Don’t despair though if your cheesecake gets a crack, just drizzle some caramel like I did, or add whipped cream, no one will know but you.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
For the Crust
5 graham crackers
5 ginger snaps
1/4 cup pecans
4 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 packages cream cheese, 8 oz, at room temperature
1 – 14 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine graham crackers, ginger snaps and pecans in food processor. Pulse until fine. Add melted butter and pulse until well combined. Press crust into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Now you have to make your pan watertight. Either wrap it with two sheets of aluminum foil, the type that comes in the long box, heavy duty 18 inch, or I have also heard that a turkey roasting bag will fit around the cheesecake pan. Do not use 2 sheets of regular size aluminum foil, this is not watertight, and you will have a soggy crust.
3. Add ricotta cheese to large mixing bowl. Use a hand-held mixer to blend until it is smooth. Add cream cheese and sugar. Blend until smooth. Add pumpkin, spices and salt. Blend until well combined. Add eggs, slowly, one at a time. Make sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next egg.
4. Pour batter into cake pan. Place cheesecake in a large roasting pan and fill with water until water comes halfway up the cheesecake pan. Place in oven. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees. Bake for 50- 60 minutes. Center will be jiggly when done, but not ripply. Turn oven off and leave it in the oven an additional 2 hours. Remove cheesecake after 2 hours and place on cooling rack until it is room temperature. Then place cheesecake in refrigerator for at least 8 hours before serving.