Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
Fluffier than both cheesecake and pumpkin pie, this dessert combines a silky cream cheese-pumpkin filling and a tangy sour cream topping with a graham cracker crust. The warmth of ginger, ground and candied, ties together the other warming spices: cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric for flavors reminiscent of — and as soothing as — turmeric tea and chai.
- Serves: 8 persons
- ½cup/114 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
- 2 ¼cups/239 grams graham cracker crumbs (from about 15 crackers)
- 3tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1teaspoon fine sea or table salt
- 1(8-ounce/226-gram) block cream cheese, softened
- ¾cup/150 grams granulated sugar
- 1 ½teaspoons ground ginger
- ¾teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½teaspoon fine sea or table salt
- 1(15-ounce/425-gram) can pure pumpkin
- 2teaspoons brandy (optional)
- 2large eggs, at room temperature
- ¼cup/50 grams granulated sugar
- ¼teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 ½cups/342 grams sour cream
- Candied ginger, cut into thin slivers or pieces, for garnish
Step 1Make the crust: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9- or 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. Mix the crumbs, sugar and salt in a large bowl (or pulse in a food processor if you’ve ground your own crumbs). Add the butter and mix (or pulse) until the mixture is well blended and feels like wet sand.
Step 2Dump all of the crumbs into the pie plate and spread in an even layer. Firmly press against the sides, but not over the rim if there is one, to form a 1/4-inch-thick edge. Firmly press the rest of the loose crumbs against the bottom. Bake until darker brown and dry and firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the oven heat down to 325 degrees.
Step 3While the crust bakes, make the filling: Beat the cream cheese with an electric stand or hand mixer until there are no tiny cream-cheese lumps. Add the sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and salt, and beat until very smooth, scraping the bowl if needed. Add the pumpkin and brandy (if using), and beat until fully incorporated, then beat in the eggs just until combined. You don’t want to beat the mixture too much once the eggs are added or your filling will balloon and then sink rather than bake evenly.
Step 4Pour the filling into the crust (it’s OK if it’s hot, warm or cooled) and spread in an even layer. Bake until the edges are set, the entire top looks dry and the very center is just a bit jiggly, 45 to 50 minutes.
Step 5After the cheesecake goes into the oven, make the topping: Mix the sugar and turmeric in a medium bowl, breaking up any clumps. Add the sour cream and stir gently until evenly tinted gold. Let sit at room temperature until ready to use.
Step 6Carefully spread the topping over the hot baked filling in an even layer. Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate uncovered until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. (Cover loosely with plastic wrap after 2 hours if you plan to chill it longer.)
Step 7When ready to serve, decorate the top with the candied ginger.