Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake – Giving Thanks for Cheap and Easy to Use Kitchen Gadgets

I’d rather eat vegan for a week than write a blog post on why pumpkin cheesecakes crack, but I’m more than happy to explain how to get that perfect, creamy-custardy, probably-won’t-crack doneness you all deserve. Use a digital thermometer. Okay, that was a little anticlimactic, but it really is that simple.

If you turn off the heat when the cheesecake’s internal temp is between 155-160 F., and let it cool slowly in the warm oven, you should get exactly what you see here. The reason a thermometer is so key, is that going just by sight is hard to do. Even at 155 F., a cheesecake has a fairly jiggly middle, and really does look undercooked. Many cooks get scared and leave it in for a few more minutes, which can make all the difference.

This should take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Many factors are involved, but a big one is the temperature of your cheese and eggs. Mine were cold, which not only makes mixing harder, but also will increase cooking time, as a room temp batter starts cooking sooner. So, to recap, use a thermometer.

That covers the cheesecake, but what about the ginger snap crust? It was okay. The flavor was great, but it got a little gritty and gummy, and I'm not sure which, if any, of the thirty-five ingredients in the cookies was responsible. Maybe a little pre-baking would help, but I can't pretend to be overly concerned. Feel free to improve, or just go graham cracker.

This recipe was adapted from one found on my friend Elise’s blog, Simply Recipes. She’s one of my all-time favorites (food bloggers and people), and I insist you head over there to check out her gorgeous version as well. I (we) hope you give this easy pumpkin cheesecake a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 1 Pumpkin Cheesecake (10 slices)
Note: This is not a classic, dense, NY-style cheesecake, and has more of a creamy, custardy texture.

For the crust:
2 cups gingersnap crumbs
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 large egg yolk

Filling
4 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (15-oz) cans pure pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
1/4 cup all purpose flour

*Bake at 325 degrees F. for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until internal temp is between 155-160 F. Let cool in warm oven, with door cracked.

57 comments:

Sonya Reflinski said...

Greetings from Australia!

Writing down all the ingredients and getting ready to give this recipe a go. Have to see whether it becomes a disaster or not.

Retno Indrastiti said...

I am planning on opening a coffee shop and this pumpkin cheese cake will definitely be on the menu. Drop by chef if you visit Indonesia.

DB Mall 27 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vann McCullar said...

Your oven is bad ass!

Ice Pandora said...

BOOKMARKED!

HansMaulwurf said...

I'd like to try this pie using fresh pumpkin. What sort would you use? My favorite is butternut but I'm not quite sure whether this is the optimal choice.

pink hope said...

Butternut should work great, but roast it in the oven, get as much flavour out of the pumpkin as possible

Chef John said...

Yes, I'd say roasted butternut puree is your best bet. I've never had a fresh pumpkin puree, including using sugar pumpkins that was superior to the can, and so just not worth all the extra time and mess. IMO.

Suzy Naylor said...

Why did you not just add the rest of the ingredients to the cream cheese in the mixer?

Christoffer L said...

am i supposed to use 15 oz total or 2x15 oz cans of pumpkin? (same with cream cheese)

Blogger said...

Chef, how would I increase the flavor to 75% cheesecake, 25% pumpkin? Maybe use 2 more packages of cream cheese and only 1 can of puree?

Chef John said...

Christoffer, no it's 2 cans 15-oz each and same for the cheese 4 packages. The first number is always how many of the unit that follows.

Blogger, sorry, I'm not sure! I'd have to test.

TheProf'sWife said...

Chef John,
Thank you for this recipe! This time of year we have time for a few more ingredients.

On another note: Why is your roasting pan so shiny and gorgeous?! How do you get all of the baked-on gunk off of it without scratching the surface? Do you use steel wool? Do I just have cheap pans?

Thanks!

Wayners said...

I had to go back and check but did a double take on the icon of the final product because the whipped cream with the pumpkins seeds looked like a ghost, for Halloween. Not that would have been clever.

PJ said...

Absolutely delicious! I made this last night to practice for Thanksgiving. You really need to put a warning label on it "CAUTION EXTREMELY ADDICTING"!

Chef John said...

Prof wife,
I fear it is the pans. We just use a scrubby sponge! :)

Suzy Naylor said...

Chef John,
I hope I didn't offend you with my question? I've just recently "discovered" you and I very much enjoy your blog and your recipes.
My question about putting everything in the mixer with the cream cheese is based on my lazy, let's only dirty one bowl, approach to cooking. So I am curious, is there a reason why you do it the way you did in the video?
Thanks.

Kevin McHugh said...

CJ, you being a wonderful teacher, do you mind sharing why you use white and brown sugar and not one of everything?

Chef John said...

Suzy, you'd never offend with such a question! I wasn't sure it would fit and mix without spilling.

Kevin, I just like the slightly lighter taste of a mix and not just all brown.

Tony Trujillo Jr said...

Thank you for another awesome recipe. I really would love to try it as posted but I just have a very basic kitchen (hand mixer, no spring form pan or roasting pan) and was wondering how (and if) it can be adapted to bake in a standard Pyrex pie dish.

Thank you for being such an inspiration to me in the kitchen. I really enjoy your humor and approach to cooking.

anthonyatom said...

Have you tried making this with a store bought crust?

Thia said...

Hi Chef John,
Will this technique work with sweet potato or bananas?

Chef John said...

Sweet potatoes yes, but not sure that sounds good to me, and not sure about bananas!

Chef John said...

Anthonyatom, Have not.

Thia said...

I am thinking it MIGHT taste like a sweet potato pie. LOL. I will let you know.

Jude said...

There is a very tasty spice cookie made by Biscoff; I think they also make a spread that would make a great filling for cake layers.

Brandie said...

I like to use nilla wafer cookies for my cheese cake crust. When I do my pumpkin cheese cake I just add in some pumpkin spices.

Jon said...

Chef John,

I've been following you for months and trying every recipe I can - Thank you! I just made this and had a ton of filling left over! I am sure I followed the directions to a T. I probably have 2 Cups of leftovers... what should I do with it? :-)

Lisa McGregor said...

That looks delish. We don't have canned pumpkin here in South Africa so I'll definitely be trying this out with roasted butternut purrée. I love cheesecake, and this looks like a fabulous variation. Thank you. :)

Chef John said...

Jon, are you sure your pan is the same size? There's no way you'd have 2 cups left if you followed these amounts, as you saw how it fit in the video. You could use extra for smaller ones in a muffin pan or ramekins.

Francine Lizotte said...

Our Thanksgiving was last month here in Canada so I've decided to have another Thanksgiving...yours!

With this cheesecake, any excuses are acceptable! Thank you Chef John for taking the time and sharing with us those incredible recipes! Bonne Action de Grâce (Happy Thanksgiving in French)

JP said...

Hello Chef John,
Is there anything I can use to substitute the egg yolk in the crust? Thank you.

Chef John said...

Just leave it out, but why if you're adding the eggs to the filling??

trevorsg said...

Just made this yesterday and it came out great! No cracks! Here are a couple of notes:
1. I used fresh pumpkin puree I made last week. I realized after mixing it that my puree was a lot thinner than the canned stuff, so I added some (a few tablespoons) corn starch to thicken it a bit. The result was that the flavor was more of 50/50 cheesecake/pumpkin pie, but still 25/75 texture. When I make this again for Thanksgiving I'm going to reduce the puree on the stove before using it.

2. My local Bed Bath & BS only sold non-stick springform pans. Why does it seem EVERYTHING is non-stick nowadays?! Makes it difficult to serve without damaging the pan...

3. Since I have a large stand mixer, I thought I'd just combine everything in that, but I still had to get a wisk for the sides.

4. I didn't have a roasting pan, so I used a large wok pan. Worked great!

Thanks Chef :)

JP said...

Hello Chef,
Sorry for the late response. I was just wondering if i could replace it with an oil, or something? Thank you.

JP said...

Hello Chef,
Sorry for the late response. I am just learning how to cook now that I'm in college and wanted to see if there was any way to cut back on the fat without diminishing the taste of it? Thank you.

Chef John said...

There probably is, but I don't know it.

chefcammie said...

Chef John, I only have a 9-inch spring form pan. Is that okay to use or do I need to buy a 10-inch one? I was thinking I could just use less of the filling and adjust the cooking time? It is 3 inches deep, though.

Chef John said...

Yes, that would work!

chefcammie said...

Thanks for your quick response! I have one more question. You said the ginger snap crust was a little gummy. How long would you recommend pre-baking it?

Chef John said...

Maybe 15 minutes?

Monica Urcelay said...

I baked the ginger snaps for 10 minutes (the last 10 of my lambage rolls by the way). It's pretty solid, i did it in a 7 inch and with crust around because i personally love crust in pies. And ginger snaps. The combination is pretty brilliant. It came out as a solid 8.5 according to my jury (10 being cheesecake factory level, according to the audience)

Gretchen inNOLA said...

Made this a while back, different version, used same amount of cream cheese, only one can of pumpkin. Just seems like two cans would be too...pumpkiny? (that word right there in the same dictionary as "spatulate" (v)Going to give yours a try this year, though. The other version I made also used a little cinnamon in the whipped cream, sort of brought it up a notch

Joachime said...

Hello writing from Chicago
Chef John, I have a question. Do you have to use a water bath?

Franklin "Blind Yak" Pierce said...

Chef,
I have made many, many cheesecakes over the years. This is by far the best recipe. You deserve all the good fortune to come. Great website. Great resource.

Thank you.

Gsweb8 said...

Hi Chef...I'm looking forward to making this...going to use Sweetzles for the crust...it's a Philadelphia thing!

http://www.sweetzels.com/products.htm

Love your work....Happy Holidays!

Gsweb8 said...

Forgot to mention...I don't have allspice; at least not from this decade. I think there's some from 1987 in our lazy Susan. Ick. However, I'm going to substitute with Chinese 5 spice. Yes, one of your secrets. Thank you!

Sara Hilliard said...

Chef John! How long should I put this in for if I use a individual mini cheesecake pan! Please and thank you!

-Sara

jessi gut said...

chef john! i am subscribed to your channel and i cheated and tried someone Else's recipie for this it was a disaster, it was almost like mousses, i ended up throwing most of it away,

my question is do i have to use 4 packets of cream cheese???

i only have 3 packets of cream cheese as of right now, the stores will be packed for thanksgiving shopping..just to buy one packet of cream cheese :/

Chef John said...

Maybe, but less cream cheese may make it more mousse like.

eUrIa SiN said...

Can i use a pre made pie crust for the bottom part instead of the cookie crust... If i can do i need to pre bake it?

Pieces of Wendy said...

I would love to make this but would have to do it gluten-free. Do you know if I can just substitute the normal flour with Bob Mills All Purpose GF baking flour? Thanks!

Jasen said...

This pumpkin cheese cake was fantastic and so much better than the Paula Dean's one posted on the web.

Maren Urbanic said...

I made this for Thanksgiving and it was an absolute hit! Mine did crack but my family didn't care. I bre-baked the crust for 10 minutes on 350 degrees and it was delicious. Thanks, Chef John, for posting a recipe that gave me the final nudge I needed to make my first cheesecake (and to get a microplane grater for freshly grated nutmeg)!

mdb139 said...

I made this for Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law has celiac disease, so I made a few minor alterations to make this gluten free -- I used gluten free ginger snaps for the crust, and I used substituted Bob's Red Mill GF AP flour for the regular AP flour. I had never made a cheesecake before, but this turned out great and it received a lot of compliments.

To those asking: I did end up mixing everything in my KitchenAid mixer (we have the small one) and it fit just fine. I mixed the cream cheese, removed it to a bowl, mixed the pumpkin mixture, and then added the cheese mixture back in thirds, whisking slowly at first. It fit just fine.

As noted, this makes a lot of cheesecake. I had enough batter to fill my spring-form pan and three small ramekins for testing.

Lovely recipe! I'd be tempted next time to try this with light cream cheese (folks that make cheesecake more often than I do tell me they do that all the time).

Thanks Chef John for another great recipe and tutorial!

joe alese said...

just finished up but I used fresh cheese pumpkin, which I fear made mine very watery, wound up adding about 3/4 cup flour total and I didn't use the egg yolks. tastes great and somehow came out very dense. I highly recommend a trial!

Sandy Calderon said...

Hello Chef John
I'll be trying this recipe tonight. but
i dont have a springform pan, so i bought a pre-made 9inch cheesecake pan and mini ones as well. Will that make a difference when i bake it?