As the leaves are changing, the temperatures are slipping, and the impending winter is beginning to overtake the long lost days of summer, few things are as comforting as a rich, decadent slice of autumn-inspired pumpkin cheesecake, with a side of piping hot coffee. Today, on the eve of National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, let me share with you my beloved pumpkin cheesecake recipe to turn your cool, crisp fall evenings into something truly memorable.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (with the rack in the center position). Meanwhile, you can start making the crust. In a medium bowl, simply mix together gingersnap cookies, pecans, and butter until moistened. When nice and moist, press the crust firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch nonstick springform pan.
As the crust bakes, cream together cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer (on low speed) until smooth. Now, mix in flour. When the flour is completely mixed in, add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, as well as vanilla and salt. Keep mixing this pie filling until smooth and creamy. When it is of the perfect consistency, add eggs, one at a time, until each is thoroughly mixed into the pumpkin cheesecake batter.
Now, simply pour the filling into the springform pan and smooth over the top; transfer to oven. At this point, reduce the oven’s heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 45 minutes. Resist the temptation to peek on your cheesecake, and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR! At the end of 45 minutes, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake stay in the oven for 2 hours more.
At the end of your agonizing 2 hour and 45 minute wait, now you may open the oven and remove your fresh pumpkin cheesecake, enticing aroma and all. Let it cool completely and then cover with plastic wrap.
When firm, remove the springform pan and place on a decorative cake platter. Serves 12.