Thursday, November 17, 2011

A new tradition?

Every year during the fall season I end up making a pumpkin cheesecake. I think it goes back to when I was in college. Every fall The Cheesecake Factory would have pumpkin cheesecake as their seasonal menu choice and 2 of my girlfriends and I would mark the date it came out on our calendar. We'd find a way to get to the nearest outpost and indulge.

For some reason, I remember it marking the celebration of some annual event - but given the time of year it could hardly be finals. It might have been midterms. Then again, it might have just been an event to celebrate the annual arrival of pumpkin cheesecake.

I don't think I've been back to The Cheesecake Factory to sample their pumpkin cheesecake in years - definitely not since college and that was many many moons ago. But once I started living on my own and cooking and baking pumpkin cheesecake seemed to make an appearance despite the fact.

It started out with Peabody's Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake. Which evolved into a version that was less swirl, and more pumpkin. And then a couple of years later I discovered my go-to cheesecake recipe, Ruth Reichl's New York Cheesecake. Over the years I've worked to make a pumpkin cheesecake that was more similar to that than the original.

I don't usually bring a pumpkin cheesecake to Thanksgiving, mostly because it's been made and eaten by that time. But this year has been a little different and I haven't had time to get my pumpkin cheesecake fix in. So I'll be sharing this with family at our Thanksgiving table. For those of you who want something a little different than Pumpkin Pie, this is a great alternative. Although in my mind you can never have too much pumpkin anything, so might as well serve both! After all, pumpkin is certainly cause for celebration.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese
4 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the graham crackers with 1/4 cup sugar and the melted butter and press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch ungreased springform pan. Chill while preparing filling.
  3. Beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, and eggs until smooth. Add the heavy cream, flour, cinnamon and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add the mashed pumpkin and blend until smooth. Pour into chilled crust and bake for an hour, or until the cheesecake is set. It should be a little jiggly in the middle.


  1. I love pumpkin in just about everything except pie (the texture really bothers me). I think pumpkin cheesecake is a MUCH better Thanksgiving dessert!

  2. I made a bourbon pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving dessert two years ago and it was a HUGE hit. Given that i live in NY...I think a NY style version would be so deliciously appropriate.

  3. I received an e-mail today asking me to order the pumpkin cheesecake for $40. It's a lovely restaurant but no - I won't be spending $40 on a cheesecake when you provided me with the perfect one!