Emily Wyckoff

Pumpkin Cheesecake: The Perfect Fall Dessert

When you think of cheesecake, you might think it’s just for special occasions. Special occasions usually mean complicated recipes with multiple steps and ingredients. Not this cheesecake. It is a snap to whip up and easier than making a batch of brownies.

I made it the other day in honor of the beginning of fall and I think it might be the biggest fake-out dessert ever.

Not a fake-out as in buy a Sara Lee cheesecake, put it on a plate and call it your own (not that there’s anything wrong with that!); a fake-out because your guests will think you slaved all day over this simple to make cake. In reality it is all mixed in the food processor in under 15 minutes, including homemade gingersnap crust. If you have a springform pan, a food processor and plan ahead (you need to chill overnight), you are golden.

This is my kind of dessert.  No adding eggs one at a time. There’s no fussy water bath in which to bake the cake — when water may accidentally slosh into the cake (a disaster. I’m speaking from personal experience.). And there’s just one bowl.

Oh, and you have to buy a bag of gingersnaps. And have leftovers. Twist your arm.

Then you grind up the cookies with some sugar and melted butter until it looks like wet sand.

pump ccake crumbs

Then you press the crumbs in the pan and put in the freezer while you make the filling.

pump ccake crust in pan

Now, as I’ve mentioned a few times already (you can tell I’m excited about this), you put the filling ingredients in the food processor bowl. It looks ugly now, but it turns into something special.

pump ccake unmixed processor

Pour the mixture onto the crust, and you are good to go.

pump ccake raw

After it’s baked, you spread a little sour cream vanilla mixture on top to cover any imperfections.

pump cheesecake whole

Bring it to Thanksgiving dinner, your next fall dinner party or make it for your family on a Tuesday like I did, and you will be a hero, impressing all with your technical baking ability.

PS: Your secret’s safe with me.

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

For the crust:

24 gingersnaps (about 6 ounces)

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

pinch of salt

For the filling:

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin

5 eggs

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the topping:

16 ounces sour cream (I used 8 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt and 8 ounces sour cream)

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the crust: Grind gingersnaps and sugar in food processor to fine crumbs. Slowly add melted butter with machine running. Wrap aluminum foil around outside of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with 2 3/4″ sides. Press cookie crumb mixture over bottom and up about one inch of the sides. Freeze 15 minutes or while you make the filling.

Make the filling: Add the filling ingredients (cream cheese through salt) to the food processor bowl and blend until smooth. Pour filling over the crust and place in oven.

Make the topping: While the cake is baking, whisk together the topping ingredients and set aside.

Bake cake until edges of the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the cake begins to brown – about 70 minutes. The middle will still jiggle. Keep the oven on.

Immediately spread the topping over the hot cake (starting at the edges and working in) and put back in the oven for 12 minutes. Run a tip of a sharp knife around the edges of the cake pan sides to loosen and place the hot cake right in the refrigerator. Chill overnight. When ready to serve, take the cake out of the fridge for at least 15 minutes prior, remove cake pan sides and foil, and place on platter. Store leftover cake tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Looking for more pumpkin recipes? Try these:

Pumpkin corn muffins

Chocolate chip pumpkin cookies

Savory pumpkin pie

BBQ pumpkin seeds

Plan B Mom is a mostly-stay-at-home mom of 3 who works from home but sees her main job as managing her family. When she is not taking care of her 13-year old and 11-year old girls, 9- year old son, yellow lab, and husband – she is baking, running, carpooling, or helping with homework. She tries to stay organized to keep life running smoothly – or at least catastrophes at bay. Follow her on Twitter at @PlanBMom.


4 Responses to “Pumpkin Cheesecake: The Perfect Fall Dessert”

  1. Sharon Feder says:

    I love that you subbed Greek yogurt here. How do you decide when to sub Greek yogurt? Does it always work?

  2. PlanB Mom says:

    @Sharon: I try and substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream whenever I can- it hasn’t failed me yet!

  3. Tain says:

    Could you use the Pumpkin Pie filling instead of all of the Pureed pumpkin and seasonings ingredients?

    • Plan B Mom says:

      @Tain: yes you could use pumpkin pie filling, but I prefer the pureed pumpkin and spices – I think it has more flavor. You also could try packed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice in place of the separate spices, but again I prefer the recipe as is. Good luck!

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