Pumpkin Cheesecake

The luscious texture and earthy sweetness of pumpkin make it perfect for baking all kinds of desserts: pumpkin creme brulee, classic pie, breads and cheesecake. When pumpkin is pureed smooth, it has a custard-like texture, so it lends itself beautifully to this silky cheesecake. For a nice contrast to cheesecake, add candied almond crunch and a dollop of Amaretto whipped cream.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 5 hr 25 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 3 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 25 min
  • Yield: One 8-inch square cake
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Ingredients

Crust: 

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 9 crackers)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:

3 packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 can or 15 ounces pureed roasted pumpkin

3 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Almond Crunch:

1 cup raw slivered almonds

1 cup sugar

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon egg white

Amaretto Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy whipped cream

1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon Amaretto

Directions

  1. To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Grease an 8- by 8-inch square cake pan and line with parchment. 
  3. In a food processor, mix together the graham crackers, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press it out in an even layer. Bake for about 12 minutes, until it starts to color. Let cool on a rack. 
  4. In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed with the paddle attachment for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and mix for another 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and mix for about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Mix for 30 seconds. 
  5. Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the cooled crust. Place the cheesecake in the oven on a cookie sheet that has about a 1/4-inch hot water in it. This will help the cheesecake bake evenly and have a silky texture. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F and bake for about 1 hour or until it is just set in the middle. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  6. To make the almond crunch topping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. 
  7. In a bowl mix together the almonds, sugar, salt, zest and egg white. 
  8. Spread the almond mixture onto the cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the almonds, so the edges don't get too much color. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown. Let the crunch cool completely and then break into small pieces.
  9. To serve the cheesecake: 
  10. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife dipped in hot water, cut the cheesecake into 16 pieces. 
  11. Whip the heavy cream with the confectioners' sugar and Amaretto until medium peaks. 
  12. Serve the cheesecake with the whipped cream and almond crunch and I found these tasty figs at the co-op.

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