Well, it’s Thanksgiving round 2 today. This evening we are heading to a friend’s house to celebrate the holiday all over again, and I just finished up this praline pumpkin cheesecake.
I’ve made it once before, and it’s a great make-ahead holiday dessert- you get cheesecake, pumpkin, caramel, pecans, and gingersnaps all in one. For the crust this time, I actually thawed some frozen gingersnap cookie dough leftover from the 2013 Holiday Cookie Book creation, crumbled and baked it, and then ground it up for ‘homemade’ crumbs. Store-bought cookies however, work just as fine.
In addition to pumpkin, sweet potato puree could also be equally substituted.
Now that it’s December, I’d say the holiday baking frenzy has officially began! I hope you all are enjoying your kitchens this time of year.
Yesterday we got our Christmas tree, which is always a fun event. For $10 you can obtain a Christmas tree permit from the U.S. Forest Service, and given a few restrictions, you get to go out in the beautiful Colorado high country and chop down your very own tree.
The funny thing, is that sometimes mountainsides can create a disillusioned sense of size proportion. Once we got home, our tree was quite larger than we had thought. Oops. With a little trimming, we made it fit. Now our home smells like fresh pine and glows with holiday warmth.
Happy baking everyone!
How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:
Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake
Adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather
- GINGER CRUST:
- 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- PUMPKIN FILLING:
- 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1⅓ cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- PRALINE TOPPING:
- 1½ cups pecans
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ tablespoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoons salt
- TO MAKE THE CRUST: line the bottom of a 9 or 10" springform pan with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.
- Place the prepared pan on top of a large sheet of aluminum foil and press up the sides. This will prevent water from seeping into the cheesecake while it gets baked in the water bath.
- In a large bowl, mix the gingersnap cookie crumbs, melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Press into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan.
- Preheat your oven to 300 F.
- TO MAKE THE FILLING: Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, until fluffy.
- Add the sugar and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl after mixing in each egg.
- Add the vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves; beat on medium speed for about 1 minute until incorporated.
- Pour the filing over the crust.
- Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan and set it on the center rack of your oven.
- Pour enough hot water into the larger pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until the filling is set and golden brown on top. The cheesecake may still jiggle but it will be a cohesive jiggle, versus a bunch of ripples.
- Cool the cheesecake in its water bath for 30-45 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, refrigerate the cheesecake for several hours until chilled.
- Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and set it on a serving plate.
- TO MAKE THE PRALINE FILLING: preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Arrange pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them for 7-9 minutes until golden brown and aromatic.
- Stir together the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a saucepan set over medium heat.
- Boil the mixture over low heat for about 5 minutes, making sure it doesn't boil over. Do not stir.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and pecans. Cool for at least 15 minutes before pouring over the top of the chilled cheesecake.
- Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.
- The cheesecake will keep, wrapped well, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Note: This recipe was adjusted for high altitude baking. To make at sea level, increase the oven temperature to 325 F. Baking times may vary slightly.