Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

This recipe made me fall in love with the concept of a gingerbread crust ...

OK ... this isn't the sexiest picture I've ever taken, but this a last ditch attempt to snap a picture of this decadence before it was decimated by my husband and I.
Pumpkin Cheesecake
original recipe by Rachael Ray

    * Cooking spray
    * 25 gingersnap cookies
    * 1-3/4 cups sugar
    * 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    * Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
    * 5 large eggs, at room temperature
    * One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
    * 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    * 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * Boiling water

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325°. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Using a food processor, grind the cookies with 1/4 cup sugar. Add the butter and pulse to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until firm, 3 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and remaining 1-1/2 cups sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in eggs until blended. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin-pie spice and salt and beat until combined, 2 minutes.

Set the springform pan with the cooled crust on a double layer of heavy-duty foil and wrap the foil tightly around the bottom and sides; set in a roasting pan. Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust. Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and fill with enough boiling water to reach about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake until the center is slightly wobbly but the edges are firm to the touch, about 1-1/4 hours.

Transfer the roasting pan with the cheesecake to a rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Remove the springform pan, discard the foil and let the cheesecake cool on the rack for 3 hours. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake. Wrap the pan in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 4 hours. Run a knife under the bottom of the cake to release it, then slide onto a serving platter.

** A note ... the original recipe was "pumpkin swirl" cheesecake.  I couldn't get this damn thing to swirl for love nor money, so I've modified this to take out the "swirl" part of it.

** Another note ... Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope that you and yours have a wonderful holiday season.

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