Pumpkin Cheeses is absolutely wonderful and is better tasting than a pumpkin pie! After making this fantastic Pumpkin Cheesecake, you will never again want or have to make a pumpkin pie for the holidays. Let your family be the judge as they will love this cheesecake!
Cheesecake is the absolute perfect dessert for Thanksgiving Dinner. I usually make my cheesecake ahead of time and freeze it. Freezing my cheesecake before Thanksgiving sure saves me a lot of time and stress.
Graham Cracker Crust (see recipe below) 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature* 1 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup sour cream 1/4 cup whipping cream 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/3 teaspoon ground ginger 1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1/8 cup all-purpose flour 4 eggs, room temperature 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (either canned or homemade)
* To quickly bring cream cheese to room temperature, place unwrapped packages in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds or until slightly softened. Do not let it melt or get warm. Refrigerate if it does.
NOTE: Use a conventional oven rather than a convection oven in baking your cheesecake. The forced hot air from the convection oven causes too much browning and can often cause the center of the cheesecake to collapse.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and position rack in center of oven (too high or too low of rack placement will cause baking problems). Lightly grease (butter) a 9-inch springform pan.
Prepare Graham Cracker Crust; set aside to cool before using.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add sour cream and whipping cream; beat, on low speed, just until smooth. Mix in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and flour. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition; beat in pumpkin puree. NOTE: Do not over beat the mixture. You want to avoid beating air into the mixture. Too much air will make the cheesecake fall.
Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared graham cracker crust, using the back of a spoon to spread evenly over the crust (this helps get rid of any extra air bubbles).
Place cheesecake in center of middle oven rack. Position a baking pan filled halfway with hot water on lower rack.
Bake 15 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake approximately another 50 to 60 minutes or until edges are light brown and center is almost set. NOTE: There should be no wet spots or liquid areas in the center of the cheesecake. Remember that a cheesecake continues to cook when it is removed from the oven.
How to tell when cheesecake is done cooking: The cheesecake is done when center is almost set, but jiggles slightly when gently shaken. For a perfect cheesecake, use a cooking thermometer and take it out of the oven when the cheesecake reaches 150 degrees F. at the center to avoid over baking. Expect a slight shrinkage as it cools. If there is great shrinkage, you have baked it at too high a heat.
When the cheesecake is done cooking, turn the oven off. Let cake stand in oven, with door ajar, approximately 30 minutes or until center is completely set.
How to prevent cracks in your cheesecake: When the internal temperature of a cheesecake rises beyond 160 degrees F. while baking, it will always crack. To prevent this from happening, use an instant-read cooking thermometer to test its doneness. Take it out of the oven when the cheesecake reaches 150 degrees F. at the center to avoid over baking.
This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometershown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
NOTE: A wonderful looking baked cheesecake (with no cracks), can crack as it sits on the cooling rack because the cake shrank during cooling and clung to the sides of the springform pan. To avoid this from happening, cool the cheesecake for only a few minutes, and then, using a paring knife, free it from the sides of the pan before allowing it to cool completely. If a crack should appear, simply blend together some sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract; spread over the top of the cooled cheesecake when ready to serve.
Cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack before refrigerating. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours before cutting (the cheesecake will solidify to a perfect consistency during this time). To serve, slide a small knife around edges of cake to loosen it and remove sides of the springform pan; transfer onto a cake plate.
In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, hazelnuts, sugar, and butter. Mix well and press firmly onto bottom of prepared springform pan. Bake 7 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from oven and cool crust completely on a wire rack. Maintain oven temperate.