Island Pumpkin Cheesecake

Who says it has to be cold to enjoy pumpkin?!  The average temperature here on the Island is 71 degrees with yesterday’s Thanksgiving being no exception.   After making this fantastic Pumpkin Cheesecake, you’ll want to have it year round.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe:

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

 

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust (see recipe below)
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature*
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (either canned or homemade)

* To quickly bring cream cheese to room temperature, place unwrapped packages in a microwavable bowl.  Microwave on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds or until slightly softened.  Do not let it melt or get warm. Refrigerate if it does.

NOTE:  Use a conventional oven rather than a convection oven in baking your cheesecake.  The forced hot air from the convection oven causes too much browning and can often cause the center of the cheesecake to collapse.

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and position rack in center of oven (too high or too low of rack placement will cause baking problems).  Lightly grease (butter) a 9-inch springform pan.

Prepare Graham Cracker Crust; set aside to cool before using.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Add sour cream and whipping cream; beat, on low-speed, just until smooth.  Mix in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and flour.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition; beat in pumpkin puree.  NOTE: Do not over-beat the mixture. You want to avoid beating air into the mixture. Too much air will make the cheesecake dry.

Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared graham cracker crust, using the back of a spoon to spread evenly over the crust (this helps get rid of any extra air bubbles).

Place cheesecake in center of middle oven rack.  Position a baking pan filled halfway with hot water on lower rack.

Bake 15 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake approximately another 50 to 60 minutes or until edges are light brown and center is almost set.  NOTE: There should be no wet spots or liquid areas in the center of the cheesecake. Remember that a cheesecake continues to cook when it is removed from the oven.

How to tell when cheesecake is done cooking:  The cheesecake is done when center is almost set, but jiggles slightly when gently shaken.  Expect a slight shrinkage as it cools. If there is great shrinkage, you have baked it at too high a heat.

When the cheesecake is done cooking, turn the oven off. Let cake stand in oven, with door ajar, approximately 30 minutes or until center is completely set.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan to help prevent cracking as it cools.

Cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack before refrigerating.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours before cutting (the cheesecake will solidify to a perfect consistency during this time).  To serve, slide a small knife around edges of cake to loosen it and remove sides of the springform pan; transfer onto a cake plate.

 

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs*
1/3 cup ground toasted hazelnuts (any type of nut may be used – your choice)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

* Finely ground ginger cookies may be substituted for all or part of the graham cracker crumbs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and position rack in center of oven (too high or too low of rack placement will cause baking problems).

Lightly grease (butter) a 9-inch springform pan.

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, hazelnuts, sugar, and butter.  Mix well and press firmly onto bottom of prepared springform pan.  Bake 7 minutes or until edges are light brown.  Remove from oven and cool crust completely on a wire rack. Maintain oven temperature.

Bake approximately 50 to 60 minutes

 

Here is my finished cheesecake!  Today is the day after Thanksgiving and none remains.

pumpkin cheesecake

 

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