Pumpkin Cheesecake

If your Thanksgiving is anything like mine, the host usually makes the bird but the rest of us chip in with side dishes and desserts. Everyone has a dish they’re famous for: Aunt Debbie makes a cheesy broccoli casserole and sugar cookies that I’m pretty sure she laces with something – no way should they be that addicting, Aunt Tammy and Uncle Scott are always on meat duty, Grandma is queen of pies and breads, Uncle Brett makes a spinach salad, my mom’s dressing and sweet potatoes are always a hit, and I make a pumpkin cheesecake. I can bring as many other dishes as I would like, but if I don’t bring a pumpkin cheesecake – I might as well not show up. This is serious, folks. I wouldn’t put it past them to kick me out of Thanksgiving if I showed up empty handed.

DSC_9457This recipe is not mine. One year in college I had the Food Network on in the background and Gina Neely made a pumpkin cheesecake that I knew I had to try. I printed it out that day and stuck it at the back of the binder until I became an adult. Still not sure the adult thing has happened, but once I started paying my own bills I knew it was time.

This cheesecake is so easy! It takes some time, but there’s not much active work at all.

Gina Neely’s Pumpkin Cheesecake (Print here from Food Network)

Crust:
30 gingersnap cookies
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 and 3/4 cups sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
5 large eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions

Crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

IMG_5926Add the gingersnaps to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until crumbly. Transfer to a large bowl and add the melted butter. Stir until evenly mixed.

IMG_5935Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch sides. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
IMG_5938Remove from the oven and let cool completely while preparing the filling.

Filling:

Put a teakettle filled with water over medium heat, and bring to a boil.

In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.

IMG_5941Add the pumpkin and beat until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and vanilla, and beat until blended. Add the flour and beat until incorporated.

If this didn't have raw eggs, I would dunk gingersnaps straight into the bowl - YUM!

If this didn’t have raw eggs, I would dunk gingersnaps straight into the bowl – YUM!

Wrap the sides and bottom of the springform pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

IMG_5949Pour the filling into the pan and put it in a small roasting pan.

IMG_5956Pour the hot water from the teakettle into the roasting pan, filling halfway up the sides of the springform pan, about 1 1/2 inches.

IMG_5963Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the water bath and let it cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled, use a paring knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving. I like to make mine the night before so it’s completely set before serving.

DSC_9459

Now, Gina Neely makes a homemade cinnamon whipped cream to go on her version. The first two years I made this cheesecake I made the homemade whipped cream to go on top of it – no one ate it. Every one of them squirted on pre-made Reddi Wip. I gave up. I now save myself the time and bring a can of Reddi Wip.  If you’d like to try the homemade whipped cream recipe here you go! It’s outta this world good.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until thick and frothy. Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, and beat until medium peaks form.
DSC_9467
Family, you better save my place – I’m bringin’ the cheesecake!

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