Sunday, December 4, 2011

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

There isn't much I can say about this cheesecake that isn't already plainly obvious in the pictures. Other than my cracks, but I kinda like my cheesecake cracks. This cheesecake was so delicious and the pumpkin flavor really wasn't all that overbearing, which is fantastic since (confession time) I don't like pumpkin. I made this for Thanksgiving and I was in charge of something pumpkin for dessert. Pumpkin pie is too strong and bland for that matter so I decided to do something rich, creamy, and that would "wow" my husband's family. Wow, it did.

Next time I think I'll try it without the caramel topping (at least on top) since it stuck to everything and I think it would have been a tad bit less rich that way. I'm all for sweets, but I think Ree has a seriously unnatural sweet tooth. ;) Not that that's a bad thing...

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from: Pioneer Woman
Yields: 1 large cheesecake (12")

For Crust

12 ounces, weight store-bought gingersnaps
½ cup chopped pecans
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 dash salt


4 x 8 oz packages cream cheese
1 ½ cup sugar
1 can pumpkin puree (15oz) or 1 cup homemade
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 jar (about 12 oz) caramel topping, optional
Extra chopped pecans
Extra crushed gingersnaps

Crush gingersnaps in food processor or a Ziploc bag with a mallet. Add chopped pecans, melted butter, brown sugar, salt and pulse (or mix) until combined well. Mixture should stick together, but barely. Be sure it’s not too soggy. Press into bottom and sides of a greased 12-inch springform pan. Chill in fridge for 20-30 minutes.

While crust is chilling, make the filling by beating cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy (this is where a stand mixer is really helpful). Add pumpkin, spices, and mix again. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each one to mix with cream cheese mixture for at least 20 seconds. Add cream and mix until just combined.

Remove crust from fridge and pour ½ jar of caramel topping on crust, if using. NOTE: Reviews on PW website indicate the caramel can harden sometimes, however I used the same brand she did and mine turned out great. Sprinkle caramel with extra chopped pecans. Gently pour the cheesecake mixture into the pan. Even out the top with a spatula.

Bake at 350°F for no less than 1 hour 15 minutes, or until no longer soupy. It should still be somewhat jiggly in the middle though. I baked mine quite a bit longer, but then again the recipe called for a 10-inch pan and mine overflowed.

Cool on the counter for 30 minutes and pour the rest of the caramel topping on top of cheesecake, if using. Smooth out with spatula and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. It said to cover the cheesecake, but be careful because the caramel sticks to EVERYTHING.

When ready to serve, remove the rim from the pan and slice. Sprinkle with extra crushed gingersnaps, if desired. The best way to slice a cheesecake is with a knife that has been run under hot water for a few seconds on each side. After each slice, clean the knife off with the hot water and slice again. Sounds tedious, but it makes the best (and most beautiful) slices!

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