cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Pumpkin Cheesecake | The Northwest Woman

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, and the ever-classic pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Cheesecake | The Northwest Woman

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.

Pumpkin Cheesecake | The Northwest Woman

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.

Pumpkin Cheesecake | The Northwest Woman

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prep time: 25 minutes

Bake time: 25 minutes

Cool time: 4 hours (or overnight)

Equipment: 

  • Springform cake pan, 7″ or 9″ is best
  • Large and medium mixing bowls
  • Electric hand mixer
  • Optional: Food processor or Vitamix

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup ginger thins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 4  tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake

  • 16 oz. cream cheese, 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

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Start by making the crust:

  1. 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.
  2. Pour your graham cracker and ginger thin crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir to combine.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and stir to combine. The final mix will look a bit wet.
  4. Pour your mixture into the bottom of a springform cake pan and spread it evenly on the bottom, packing the crust into a tight layer.
  5. Allow the crust to firm up in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before adding the cheesecake mixture.

Then start on the cheesecake mixture:

  1. 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.
  2. Add 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until incorporated.
  3. Add the 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and continue to mix.
  4. Add the egg, then the 1/3 cup brown sugar, and continue to beat the mixture until everything is mixed together.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree to the mixture and beat until smooth.
  6. Pour your mixture into the springform pan, on top of the crust, spreading evenly.
  7. 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 outer edges of the cheesecake shouldn’t jiggle. I’d recommend baking the cheesecake for increments of 2 minutes if it’s not quite done.
  8. 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 (this prevents the top from cracking), then move it to the fridge for at least 4 hours, or, preferably, overnight.

Bonus: Easy Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Add all ingredients to either a Vitamix or mixing bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve!

Enjoy!

Photos by Matthew Land.

A Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake Recipe

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

I made my first cheesecake this last fall (pumpkin, how seasonally-appropriate) and thought I would give it another try. I had two, giant freezer bags full of blackberries from Matt’s parents’ yard that I had been meaning to cook with for a while, and dessert seemed to be a fitting way to put them to use! The result was a rustic blackberry cheesecake, created from a hodge-podge of recipes, a majority of which I deviated from, cutting down on the sugar content (don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a healthy recipe. And I am totally okay with that.)

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake is not a quick process–the cool-down time is crucial to the texture and consistency of this dessert. I like to make cheesecake the night before it’s serve-time so there’s plenty of time for it to rest and firm up in the fridge. This blackberry cheesecake bakes for about 1 hour 20 minutes, then cools for 4 or more hours total.

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

Block out an evening to bake and you’ll be rewarded the next day with a fresh, homemade dessert in your fridge. The time is completely worth it! I love this blackberry cheesecake recipe–it’s tangy and bright, and the blackberries add a rich sweetness that really makes the whole dessert pop.

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

The Northwest Woman | Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

I mean, just look at that slice. I’m ready for a piece right now.

Rustic Blackberry Cheesecake

Prep time: 40 – 50 minutes

Bake time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Cool time: 5 hours (or overnight)

Equipment: 

  • Springform cake pan
  • Large and medium mixing bowls
  • Electric hand mixer
  • Optional: Food processor or Vitamix

Ingredients:

Blackberry topping

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Crust

  • 1 and 1/2 cup graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cheesecake

  • 3 packets cream cheese (8 oz. each) at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Pre-heat the oven to 325 F.

Start by making the blackberry topping:

  1. Add the blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a medium saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Stir while cooking for 15 – 20 minutes until the berries are broken down.
  3. If you don’t like blackberry seeds, strain them out at this point in a fine-mesh strainer.
  4. Let the blackberry topping come to a boil while stirring constantly. The topping will start to thicken. You can add a pinch of cornstarch if your sauce isn’t thickening, or a splash of water if it’s too gummy. You’re aiming for a slightly runny, sauce consistency.
  5. Let it boil for about 1 minute while stirring.
  6. Remove from heat and let it cool in the pan.

Then make the crust:

  1. Add the graham crackers 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 graham crackers in their wrapper with a rolling pin.
  2. Pour your graham cracker crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir to combine.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and stir to combine. The final mix will look a little bit wet.
  4. Pour your mixture into the bottom of a springform cake pan and spread it evenly on the bottom, then press to pack the crust evenly along the sides of the pan and throughout the middle.
  5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then take it out of the oven to let it cool.

And finally the cheesecake:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the 3 packets of room-temperature cream cheese. Using the hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth and slightly fluffy.
  2. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.
  3. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat the mixture until everything is mixed together.
  4. Add 1 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the mixture. Combine using the hand mixer. The final mix will be runny.
  5. Pour your mixture into the springform pan, on top of the crust.
  6. Pour the blackberry topping over the top of the cheesecake evenly, then using a knife, lightly swirl the blackberry mixture until it covers the top of the cheesecake.
  7. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the springform pan and bake at 325 F for 1 hour 20 minutes.
  8. Check on the cheesecake at 1 hour 20 minutes and jiggle the pan slightly. The 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 at 1 hour 20 minutes.
  9. 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.

Enjoy!

Photos by Matthew Land.

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