Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Makes 12-14 Servings

This seasonal make-ahead treat is equally at home at the most elegant holiday dessert table or as comfort food after family meals. It’s tall and fluffy; topped with a dollop of fresh cream, it’s luscious, and pairs well with a rich cup of freshly-brewed coffee.

 

For the Crust:

(This will cover the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. If you wish to cover the sides as well, double the recipe.)

1 package graham crackers (9 crackers, 4.8 ounces)

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup European unsalted butter, melted

 

 

For the Filling:

3 8-ounce packages (24 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

pinch of sea salt

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/2 C sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cup pumpkin puree

2 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

 

Caramel sauce, chopped roasted nuts, and whipped cream, optional garnish

 

For the Crust:

1. Pulse the graham crackers, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a food processor to pulverize.

 

2. Transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl; pour the melted butter over the top and mix it in by hand. When it is fully mixed, it will hold it’s shape if you squeeze it, and crumble apart if you tap it.

 

3. Press the crust into a 9″ springform pan evenly. Use a glass with smooth sides and bottom to press it down firmly.

 

For the Filling:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix the cream cheese, brown sugar, and salt in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed about 3 minutes, until smooth. The longer you mix them, the fluffier your cheesecake will be. Half way through, stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl down.

 

2. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing lightly and scraping the bowl between each addition.

 

3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed.

 

4. Pour filling into crust and place in a water bath (place the cheesecake inside a larger pan filled with water at least half to three quarters of the way up the sides of the cheesecake pan.) Bake uncovered about one hour, or until the center is just set. It should still have a little bit of jiggle to it but not be liquid. Let cool in the pan and refrigerate overnight before serving.

 

5.  Drizzle with caramel sauce and top with chopped nuts and whipped cream if desired.

 

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