Thanksgiving is a favorite of mine–it combines the company of the people I love with a generous spread of sweet and savory dishes. Autumn in general is an amazing time for food, in my opinion. Seriously, I could live on autumnal treats like squash, pomegranates, brussels sprouts, cider, and the ever-classic pumpkin pie.
I made pumpkin cheesecake for the first time last fall, inspired by my love for the two classic desserts. After a few test runs and recipe tweaks, I landed on a slightly spicier recipe with a buttery, graham cracker and ginger crust and a velvety-smooth, slightly tangy pumpkin cheesecake top.
This dessert is so decadent, which makes it perfect for sharing with others! If you’re looking for a new take on a crowd-pleasing classic for a dinner party or Thanksgiving dinner, look no further.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Cool time: 4 hours (or overnight)
- Springform cake pan
- Large and medium mixing bowls
- Electric hand mixer
- Optional: Food processor or Vitamix
- 1 cup graham crackers
- 1/2 cup ginger thins
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 4 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
- 2 packets cream cheese (8 oz. each) at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree or 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree
Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
Start by making the crust:
- Add the graham crackers and ginger thins to a food processor (I used my Vitamix) and pulse on low until they’ve broken down into small crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, you can just crush the ginger thins and graham crackers in their wrappers with a rolling pin.
- Pour your graham cracker and ginger thin crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir to combine.
- Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and stir to combine. The final mix will look a little bit wet.
- Pour your mixture into the bottom of a springform cake pan and spread it evenly on the bottom, then pack the crust evenly along the sides of the pan and throughout the middle.
- Allow the crust to firm up in the fridge for 15 minutes before adding the cheesecake mixture.
Then start on the cheesecake:
- In a large mixing bowl, add the 2 packets of room-temperature cream cheese. Using the hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth and slightly fluffy.
- Add 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until incorporated.
- Add the 2 tablespoons heavy cream and continue to mix.
- Add the egg, then the 1/3 cup brown sugar, and continue to beat the mixture until everything is mixed together.
- Add the pumpkin puree to the mixture and beat until smooth.
- Pour your mixture into the springform pan, on top of the crust, spreading evenly.
- Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Jiggle the pan slightly after 25 minutes–the pumpkin cheesecake is done when only the center jiggles a little–the edges of the cheesecake shouldn’t jiggle. Bake the cheesecake for increments of 2-5 minutes if it’s not quite done.
- When the cheesecake is done, turn the oven off and open the door of the oven. Let the cheesecake cool down gradually in the oven for an hour and a half, then move it to the fridge for at least 4 hours, or, preferably, overnight.
Bonus: Easy Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Add all ingredients to either a Vitamix or mixing bowl.
- Blend in the Vitamix on high for about 30 seconds, or using a hand mixer, whip the mixture until you start to see soft peaks in the whipping cream.
- Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve!