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Marbled Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

This Marbled Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake screams Fall, from the gingersnap crust to the warmly spiced pumpkin swirled cheesecake filling.  It’s a perfect dessert for your Thanksgiving dessert table, and you can make it ahead.

 

You might feel intimidated by making a cheesecake, but I’m here to tell you it’s easy!  Patience is the key here.  It’s so easy to mix and press the crust into the springform pan and just as easy to mix up the cheesecake filling.  However, once the cheesecake bakes, it’s important to slowly cool the cheesecake in the warm oven, to prevent cracking.  Cheesecake isn’t a dessert that you can just eat right out of the oven.  Once it’s cooled to room temperature, it needs to be refrigerated for a few hours before serving.  It’s a great dessert to make a day or two ahead.

CRUST

The crust is made of crushed Gingersnap cookies.  The cookie crumbs get mixed with a tiny bit of ginger, sugar, and melted butter.  I use the bottom of a measuring cup and the back of a spoon to press the cookie crumb mixture into the bottom and partially up the sides of a springform pan.  I also wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with heavy foil.  This ensures no water will seep into the pan when it’s in the water bath.  Lastly, the crust gets baked for 10 minutes in the oven.  This sets the crust.

FILLING

The filling is made of two mixtures.  The two get swirled together to make a beautiful marbled look.

CREAM CHEESE FILLING:  The cream cheese mixture is made first.  It combines cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, flour, and vanilla.

PUMPKIN SPICE FILLING:  The pumpkin batter is made by adding to cups of the cream cheese filling to a large bowl with canned pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.

WATER BATH

The water bath is necessary to keep the cheesecake moist and to help it from cracking.  To make the water bath, you just need a pan that is larger than the springform pan and deep enough to hold one inch of water without it bubbling over.  I recommend using a pan that is at least 2-inches deep.  I always use a half sheet cake pan, but you can use any pan that will work.  If you don’t have a pan that will work, don’t fret.  Fill any pan that will fit on your bottom oven rack with 1-inch of water and place it on the bottom oven rack.  Instead of the cheesecake sitting in the pan of water, the water will be on the rack below it.

There are two ways to fill the pan with water.  You can place the pan on the oven rack, then fill it with the hot water, and gently place the springform pan into the water.  The second option…place the empty pan in the oven, place the springform pan in the pan, and carefully pour the hot water into the pan, being careful not to splatter it into the cheesecake filling.

TIPS FOR A PERFECT NO-CRACK CHEESECAKE

  • Waterbath:  Bake the cheesecake in a water bath.  The steam from the water keeps the cheesecake creamy and moist enough to prevent cracking.  See my specific instructions and tips for the water bath in the recipe below.
  • Oven temperature:  Don’t bake the cheesecake at too high of a temperature.  Some recipes call for preheating the oven to 350 degrees.  I prefer to bake mine at 325 degrees.  Low and slow!
  • Overbaking:  Do not over bake.  Once the cheesecake is almost set, (this means set but still jiggly in the very center), it is done.  It will finish firming up as it cools.  If you over bake a cheesecake, it will become dry and crack on top.
  • Proper slow cooling:  Once the cheesecake has baked remove the water bath, and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar for one hour.  After that, transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack and allow the cheesecake to completely cool before refrigerating.  The key is to slowly cool down the cheesecake.

FREEZING CHEESECAKE

  • Cheesecake freezes beautifully.  Leave the cheesecake on the bottom of the springform pan.  If you must remove it from the bottom, use a thin wide metal spatula, such as a wide pancake turner and carefully try to slide it off.  Wrap the cheesecake several times in plastic wrap, then wrap with foil or place the cheesecake in a secure container, such as a pie container, and freeze.  When you’re ready to eat, thaw the cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator before serving.  Add garnishes at that time.

 

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Marbled Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust


  • Author: Cindy Gibbs
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x

Description

This Marbled Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake screams Fall, from the gingersnap crust to the warmly spiced pumpkin swirled cheesecake filling.  It’s a perfect dessert for your Thanksgiving dessert table, and you can make it ahead.


Scale

Ingredients

GINGERSNAP COOKIE CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs, store bought
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CHEESECAKE

  • four 8-ounce packages full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree, (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • gingersnap crumbs for garnish, optional

WHIPPED CREAM, optional

  • 1 cup heavy full-fat whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

GINGERSNAP COOKIE CRUST

  1. Adjust oven rack to the lowest middle postion (one position up from the lowest).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crush the cookies into fine crumbs by pulsing them in a food processor or blender.    Add the cookie crumbs, sugar, ginger, and melted butter to a medium bowl and mix until well combined.  Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  You can do this easily with a measuring cup.  I also use the back of a spoon for the sides.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes.  This sets the crust.
  3. Wrap heavy foil around the bottom and two-thirds up the outside of the springform pan, making sure there are no puncture holes in the foil.  This will ensure that no water gets into your cheesecake.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. Prepare the water bath:  Place a large pan, at least 2-inches deep, on the oven rack.  Fill the pan with 1-inch of hot water.  If you don’t have a pan big enough to hold the cheesecake, place a pan of water under the rack that will hold the cheesecake.  The steam from the water will still do its work.  Leave the pan of water in the oven while you prepare the cheesecake filling.

CHEESECAKE

  1. Add the cream cheese and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is creamy and free of any lumps and the sugar is incorporated, about 2 minutes.  Add the the sour cream, flour and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.
  2. Transfer 2 cups of the batter to a medium bowl.  Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon and mix with a large spoon just until combined.
  3. Pour 2 cups of the plain batter over the gingersnap crust and spread evenly with an offset spatula.  Pour 1 cup of the pumpkin batter in the center of the plain batter.  Using a spoon, randomly drop spoonfuls of each batter over the cheesecake surface.  Using the tip of a knife, swirl the two batters together, making sure to take the knife all the way to the crust.  Make sure you go in each direction with the knife for maximum marbling.
  4. Transfer the cheesecake to the oven, gently placing it into the water bath.  Make sure you don’t splatter water into the cheesecake.  Bake the cheesecake for 1 1/2 hours and check it.  It may take 15 minutes longer, depending on your oven.  If the cheesecake is firm except for a jiggle in the very center, it’s done.  It will finish firming up as it cools.  If you over bake the cheesecake it will be less creamy and will crack on top.  Once the cheesecake is done, turn off the oven.  Remove the cheesecake and water bath from the oven.  Return the cheesecake to the oven and leave the oven door about 2 inches ajar.  Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour.  Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack and remove the foil.  Allow the cheesecake to cool completely and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.  Run a sharp thin knife around the edges of the cheesecake to loosen it from the springform pan ring, then loosen and remove the ring.
  5. To serve cheesecake, use a long sharp knife.  Dip the knife in a glass of hot water, wipe it dry and cut one side of a slice.  Wipe the knife clean and repeat.  This will ensure nice clean cuts.

WHIPPED CREAM, optional

  1. Add the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, (or use a hand mixer).  Whisk on medium speed until the mixture begins to slightly thicken.  Turn the mixer to high and whisk until the whipping cream forms stiff peaks.  Serve on top of each slice followed by a sprinkling of gingersnap crumbs.  Cover and refrigerate if not using right away.

Recipe Adapted from Bake From Scratch – 2019 Fall magazine


Notes

  • Gingersnap Cookies:  I used Kroger brand gingersnap cookies in this recipe.  They are crunchy and have a perfect  flavor.  I’m not a big fan of other brands such as Nabisco and they don’t seem to be as hard and crunchy.  You need a hard crunchy cookie for the best crust results.  If you choose to make your own gingersnaps, make sure they are a hard crunchy cookie.
  • Pumpkin:  Make sure you use pumpkin pie puree, not pumpkin pie filling.  There’s a big difference.  If you make your own puree, it’s probably not going to be as firm as the pumpkin in the can and will be more watery.  If you do use your own, make sure you drain off any excess liquid.
  • Oven temperature:  This cheesecake gets baked at 325 versus 350 degrees.  One of the secrets to keeping a cheesecake from cracking is a slow and low baking process.
  • Water bath:  A water bath is essential for a creamy cheesecake without cracks.  There’s nothing difficult about a water bath.  Use a large roasting pan, or any large deep pan that is larger than the springform pan.  I actually use my 1/2 sheetcake pan.  It’s important to wrap the bottom and outsides of the springform pan with heavy foil to prevent water from leaking into the springform pan.  Alternately, If you don’t have a deep large pan, or you’re afraid of water leaking into your cheesecake, place water in any pan that will fit on your bottom oven rack and fill it with at least 1-inch of water.  Place the pan on the bottom oven rack, under the rack holding cheesecake.  This will also work.
  • Category: desserts
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: american

Keywords: cheesecake, pumpkin, pumpkin cheesecake, marbled pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cream cheese cheesecake, fall desserts,

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