an amazing pumpkin cheesecake that makes a delicious update to classic thanksgiving pumpkin pie. this pumpkin cheesecake packs a punch with all of the pumpkin flavor you’re looking for out of a thanksgiving meal. it is super rich & decadent, as all good holiday desserts are, but this pumpkin cheesecake also has such a light & fluffy texture that it’s almost mind-boggling. this pumpkin cheesecake’s rich filling & zingy gingersnap crust will definitely keep you coming back for more!
i’ll try to contain myself but…IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEARRRRRRRR!!!!!!
you could definitely say that i am one of those weirdos who can’t wait for halloween to just get over & done with so i can officially start daydreaming about thanksgiving & christmas & holiday parties & mariah carey’s christmas album & cheese balls & fluffy white sweaters & wrapping paper & ribbons & santa & snowmen & family time & glitter & garland & twinkly christmas lights &…
overkill? probably. #sorrynotsorry
truth is, i never used to get too jazzed about the holidays until after thanksgiving. thanksgiving was just never one of my favorites. the dinner was always only okay & the celebration just paled in comparison to christmas since my family only got together with our extended family in december.
this all changed a handful of years ago, though, when my friends & i started to celebrate the holidays together with a friendsgiving dinner.
friendsgiving has become an annual tradition amongst our circle. we set aside one night during the busy holiday months to get fancied up & enjoy a potluck style holiday dinner together. many board games are played, many bottles of wine are consumed (like MANY), & many laughs are shared.
is there anything better than celebrating, eating, & laughing with the family you chose for yourself?
no. no, there isn’t.
friendsgiving is absolutely one of my favorite nights of the year.
in addition to my traditional friendsgiving dinner, this year i am also so excited to be partnering up with some of my blogging besties for a virtual friendsgiving potluck. & let me tell you…the lineup of recipes this tribe of ladies is putting out there this week is seriously top-notch. (you can check out the entire line up at the end of this post – you’ll definitely want to!)
i am bringing to the table my staple friendsgiving potluck contribution: perfect pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust.
a delicious update to that classic thanksgiving pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake packs a punch with all the pumpkin flavor you’re looking for out of a thanksgiving meal.
i found this food network recipe a few years back when i was planning out my friendsgiving contribution. everyone i’ve ever served it to over the years since legit raves about it.
the show-stealing aspect of my pumpkin cheesecake is definitely the creamy & dreamy pumpkin filling.
i never mess with this base recipe since it is really cheesecake perfection. the pumpkin filling is creamy, rich, & legit so packed with pumpkin flavor that you won’t feel like you’re missing out on pumpkin pie for a single second. the mind-boggling part is that despite its rich pumpkin flavor, it also has the most airy, light & fluffy texture.
it’s like biting into a pumpkin cloud.
i do make the recipe my own by giving the crust a bit of a face-lift, swapping out the regular graham crackers called for in the original recipe with crispy gingersnap cookies.
my go-to gingersnaps are the triple ginger gingersnaps from trader joe’s. they’re found in the a plastic tub with many of their other cookies above the freezer section. & as their name implies, they are loooooaded with ginger flavor.
if you don’t live near a tj’s or your tj’s is out of stock of these bad boys, you can simply use cinnamon graham crackers with about 1 tablespoon of powdered ginger added to the mix.
it is such a simple swap but it makes a huge difference to the overall flavor & balance of the pumpkin cheesecake. the spicy notes of the ginger zing right through the richness of the creamy pumpkin filling. it will keep you coming back bite after bite. after bite after bite. after bite.
& who knows? maybe next year when november 1st rolls around you’ll have the same kid-on-christmas-day feeling as you daydream about pumpkin cheesecake, too.
- 10-inch springform pan
- roasting pan
- 1 14-oz tub of trader joe's triple ginger gingersnap cookies, crushed (approx. 2.5 cups)
- OR 3 sleeves cinnamon graham crackers, crushed, + 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 32 oz cream cheese at room temperature (light cream cheese is fine too)
- 2.5 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream (light sour cream is fine too)
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
- 6 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 heaping tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- OR 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- fresh-grated nutmeg
- whipped cream
- preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- prepare a 10-inch springform pan by lightly greasing it with butter or cooking spray & wrapping its base in tin foil (which will help prevent any leakage into the bottom of your oven - eek!).
- combine the gingersnap crumbs with the brown sugar & melted butter in a bowl. (if your gingersnaps are still in whole cookie form, they're really easy to crush into crumbs - just give 'em a whirl in a food processor or pop them in a gallon ziploc bag & go to town on them with a rolling pin.)
- firmly press the gingersnap crumb mixture into the base of your springform pan.
- bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown & fragrant, & set aside to cool.
- in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar, & sour cream. beat on medium speed with a paddle attachment, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is smooth & creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- add the pumpkin puree & continue beating on medium speed until combined.
- reduce the mixer speed to low & slowly add the beaten eggs, vanilla, & spices, until just combined.
- pour the pumpkin cheesecake filling into the springform pan with the cooled gingersnap crust & carefully tap it against the countertop to release any air bubbles.
- bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil on your stovetop.
- set cheesecake in roasting pan & set roasting pan on a middle rack in your 325 degree oven.
- carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan so it surrounds the cheesecake. ideally, it should come up about 1/2 way up the sides of the springform pan.
- bake cheesecake in water bath at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes. the edges will have set & the center of the cheesecake may still be a little loose - this is exactly what you want.
- turn off the oven & let the cheesecake sit in it while it cools for 1 hour. the residual heat will help the cheesecake continue to gently bake to completion.
- after 1 hour, remove cheesecake & water bath from oven. transfer cheesecake to the fridge & allow it to set for 8-12 hours.
- while it isn't 100% necessary, the extra couple of steps to prep a water bath are so, so, so worth it. the water bath helps the cheesecake to bake gently & evenly, resulting in that super smooth & creamy texture that we're after.
- pull the cheesecake out of the oven about a half hour before you're ready to serve it. run a small knife around the edges of the springform pan. you can serve with your favorite ice cream or whipped cream, but since it's already pretty rich, i prefer to just top it with a grate of fresh nutmeg.