When a coworker’s birthday arrives, I always try to bake for the office. It gives me a great excuse to bake and not have to eat it all. For one coworker, Sam, I gave him a blank slate to choose what he wanted. His choice: Pumpkin Cheesecake. Wise choice, Sam. Wise Choice.
I didn’t have a recipe that I loved, and usually actually wind up making no-bake cheesecakes (I usually prefer their texture). For his, however, I did some searching around online to see what I could come up with. My typical method for coming up with recipes is to check out some highest rated ones around the internet (AllRecipes.com is great), go to some of my most trusted resources for recipes (Food Network, Pioneer Woman, and Smitten Kitchen to name a few), then combine my favorite parts of each and my past recipes to come up with something a bit more Sara. When I saw this recipe from Paula Deen, however, I decided to try it as-is. And boy am I glad I did! This was the best graham cracker crust I have ever tried.
You combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon and then add melted butter. This is pretty much the same set of ingredients as every graham cracker crust, however, the proportions and texture is just perfect.
Then you press it into the bottom of a springform pan.
And if you want to make a sample for yourself and your boyfriend to “make sure it tastes okay” before cutting into the big one the next day… fill the bottom of a non-stick baking cup.
Next for the filling, you need cream cheese at room temperature. It’s amazing how long it takes cream cheese to get to room temp, so I used the kangaroo pouch in my apron to speed it along. (TIP: Take your cream cheese out a few HOURS before you start)
Then you fill the springform with the combination of blended cream cheese, pumpkin puree, eggs (both full and yolks), sugar, spices, and sour cream (which I think really added a perfect flavor!) The one edit I made is that I added more spices, since I love the flavors of fall. I honestly could have probably added even more.
Then I put the same filling into the cups.
And set the whole thing to bake at 350 for 1 hour. (Or 30-35 minutes for the mini cups).
Then let it cool for 15 minutes before slapping yourself in the forehead. Why? Cheesecakes are finicky little things. They just LOVE to expose their fault lines as they cool. Every other cheesecake I’ve ever baked I have put in a water bath (which regulates the temperature so it doesn’t crack as it cools), and I just plum forgot. D’oh!
Honestly? No one cared and it still tasted MARVELOUS! I don’t think I would change a thing about this recipe with the exception of a bit more allspice and clove.
And what would a Sara dessert be without a homemade schlag to go with it? I thought a salted carmel schlag would compliment the pumpkin cheesecake… so I looked up a recipe and found out that it was basically just making caramel, adding salt, then adding in the heavy cream, letting it cool and then whipping it up. Easy-peasy!
Unfortunately, however, my pot has a hot spot and it kept burning in one corner. Damn. It was still delish though!
I added the cream once it browned…
And the cool cream instantly made it into cracked caramel sugar. But a few spins over medium heat and it blended nicely into a delicious base for whipped cream.
And the minis? Well… a bit overcooked. I did it for 45 minutes, so probably more like 30-35 would be better (cheesecake shouldn’t brown, and should be a little loose in the middle).
But they popped out beautifully.
And made a perfect bite with the whipped cream.
This is a fantastic recipe. And a TRUE crowd pleaser.
(Borrowed with hardly any changes from Paula Deen via FoodNetwork.com)
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 stick melted salted butter
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
- 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I would make this 1/4 or 1/2 tsp. depending on your love of cloves and possibly also add 1/4 tsp. Allspice)
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.