Pumpkin cheesecake is the fall dessert you didn’t know you needed. This is the perfect combination of pumpkin pie and cheesecake. You cannot go wrong with this tasty fall cool treat!
I have always been a huge cheesecake fan and love to make them. Fall is the perfect time to experiment with pumpkin and that is exactly what I did here. This cheesecake is a perfect blend of two of my favorite desserts, pie and cheesecake.
I kinda stole a page from my grandmother here when I thought about how to make this dessert. I wanted to capture the essence of the dessert she used to make when I was little and translate it into a cheesecake.
Or fancy way of saying water bath. In my opinion the best way to cook a cheesecake. By using this method you will have that perfectly smooth surface without any cracks or splits. It uses a larger pan filled with hot water that the cheesecake will sit in.
Why this works well is two-fold. Firstly since water can only reach the temperature of 212F or 100C the sides of the cheesecake will not get hotter than that. This ensures that the sides do not cook and set faster than the top. When the sides cook faster they will set and then when cooled pull away from the cheesecake.
Secondly, as the water evaporates it creates a humid environment in the oven. This will prevent the top from forming a firm film that when cools will be prone to separate.
Perfect for the fall
There are so many reasons why a pumpkin cheesecake is great for the fall and the first being that pumpkin is really tasty. Although you can buy it year round the combination of spices with it make it extra special this time of year.
I am sure you have seen plenty of recipes that use pumpkin pie spice. Since you already have the ingredients for it you can simply make your own. Pumpkin pie spice has cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, ground cloves, and allspice.
Take a chill pill
Finally, the last step to keeping a cheesecake free of cracks in the top is how you let it cool. Drastic and rapid changes in temperature will cause the deep cracks in the cheesecake as it cools.
Start with testing the doneness in the oven. You can do this by tapping the side of the cheesecake. If only the center has a wobble to it then it is done.
After you see the wobble turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon or something similar. Then let it sit in the cooling oven for an hour. Once that is done let it come to room temperature on the counter before placing it in the refrigerator.
This gentle cooling will prevent the cracks forming across the top.
- 9" or 10" springform pan
- Hand or stand mixer with paddle attachment
- Food processor
- 12" pan for bain marie
- Parchment paper
- Heavy duty foil
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1½ cup graham crackers 12 sheets
- 3 8 oz cream cheese blocks softened
- 15 oz pumpkin puree canned
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 3 eggs
- ¾ tsp salt
Pumpkin pie spice (1 Tbsp for the recipe)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ginger ground
- ¾ tsp allspice
- ¾ tsp cloves ground
Making the crust
- Preheat the oven to 325°F or gas mark 3 and heat a pot of water to boil.
- In a food processor combine the sugar, graham crackers, and cinnamon and pulse until the crackers turn into a fine crumb. You can also use store bought graham cracker crumbs as well.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl if using the food processor and add the melted butter.
- Line the inside of the spring form pan using parchment paper.
- Spread the crumb mixture across the bottom and up the sides of the pan and bake for 15 minutes.
Preparing the pumpkin
- Fold the cheesecloth in half and set inside a bowl.
- Pour the pumpkin puree in the center of the bowl and pull the sides of the cheesecloth around it to make a sack. Twist the cheesecloth to squeeze out all of the extra water.
- In a bowl add the pumpkin, 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin pie spice, salt, and the eggs and mix until completely combined.
Making the cheesecake
- In a stand mixer, on medium high speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the cream cheese and beat until completely mixed.
- Wrap the pan in three layers of heavy duty foil. Place the springform pan into the larger pan and pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan.
- Place the pan in on the oven rack and pour the water into the larger pan to create a water bath. Bake for 1.5 hours or until the cheesecake is almost completely set.
- Turn off the oven and prop it open using a wooden spoon and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for an hour.
- Let the cheesecake sit on the counter to come to room temperature before placing it in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.