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Baking In The Queen's Kitchen: Pumpkin cheesecake

The holiday season is fast approaching, and we all know what that means, fabulous desserts. Don’t be afraid to volunteer to bring the dessert to your family meal, a holiday party or just a casual gathering of good friends. They’ll be impressed with your baking skills and will want to know your recipe. You don’t have to mention that you got a little help from the Queen!

The next few weeks of recipes will set you up for the holidays. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serves 10-12

Crust:

1 C. Graham Cracker crumbs (plain or cinnamon), ‘Nilla wafers or animal crackers

½ C. crushed ginger cookies

1 T. sugar

4-5 T. melted butter, cooled to room temp

Cheesecake:

2/3 C. firmly packed light brown sugar

½ t. ground cinnamon

¼ t. ground ginger

1/8 t. ground cloves

1/8 t. ground nutmeg

½ t. salt

16 oz. full fat cream cheese, at room temp

3 large eggs, at room temp

1 t. vanilla extract/paste

1 C. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

Topping:

1 C. full fat sour cream, at room temp

1 t. vanilla extract/paste

¼ C. sugar

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of the oven. Butter or spray 8-inch spring form pan

2. In a bowl, combine graham cracker and cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Evenly press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan. Bake about 8 minutes or until set. Let cool while making the filling

3. In a bowl, combine brown sugar with all the spices and salt.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth. Add sugar mixture and beat until combined and creamy smooth

5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, if needed

6. Beat in vanilla extract/paste and pumpkin puree

7. Pour filling over the crust and place spring form pan onto a larger baking sheet to catch drips

8. Place a pan, filled halfway with water on the bottom rack of the oven, this will keep the air in the oven moist and help prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking

9. Bake cheesecake 30 minutes at 350 degrees and then reduce oven temp to 325 degrees and bake another 10-20 minutes, or until edges of the cheesecake are puffed but the center still looks a little wet and jiggles when you gently shake the pan

10. Whisk together sour cream, vanilla extract/paste and sugar and immediately spread the topping over the cheesecake.

11. Return cheesecake to oven and bake another 8-10 minutes to set the topping

12. Let cool completely before releasing from spring form pan, if all goes well, there should be no cracking on the top of the cheesecake (otherwise cover your crack with whipped cream)!

13. Cheesecake should be refrigerated at least 8 hours before serving

Store in refrigerator for about 5 days or it can be frozen, but seriously, is it really going to stick around that long??!!