Pumpkin pie gets more time in the spotlight than any other pumpkin dessert, but there are many delicious pumpkin options out there and this Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust is an excellent one! It is perfect for any fall or holiday baking occasion when you want pumpkin, but want something different than a traditional pie – or if you’re simply a cheesecake lover that wants a fall option.
The cheesecake combines the natural sweetness of pumpkin puree with the addictive tang of cream cheese, yielding a dessert that has a nice balance between the two. It has just the right touch of pumpkin spice in the filling and plenty of ginger in the crust.
The cheesecake is particularly easy to make for two reasons. First, the filling is added to the crust while the crust is still hot from baking, which really cuts down on prep time for this dessert. Second, the cheesecake does not require a water bath, yet yields a light and silky cheesecake.
Both the filling and crust for this dessert are made in the food processor. The crust should be prepared first, since it will need to start baking while you prepare the filling. In the food processor, pulverize the cookies into crumbs and pouring them into a 9-inch springform pan to bake. You can use any brand of crispy gingersnap cookies that you like, so long as they have some spice to them. In the event that you are fresh out of gingersnaps, you can substitute graham crackers and add in some addition spices to bring in the extra layer of flavor that you get from the gingersnaps.
Once the crust is in the oven, simply wipe out the food processor bowl and start to make the filling. A food processor is a fantastic gadget for making cheesecake because it does such a good job of eliminating the lumps from the batter, guaranteeing a cheesecake that is ultra-smooth when it comes out of the oven.
The finished cheesecake is creamy and rich, yet feels less dense and not quite as heavy as some other cheesecakes. A restrained use of spices ensure that they compliment the pumpkin without overwhelming the cream cheese flavor. While the filling might only be mildly spiced, the crust is not. The spicy crust – my gingersnaps had a bit of black pepper for some extra spice, in addition to a strong ginger flavor – is a nice contrast both in texture and flavor to the pumpkin filling. In short? It’s delicious and well worth a spot in your “must bake” pumpkin recipe list alongside pumpkin bread and classic pumpkin pie!
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
4 – 4.5 oz gingersnap cookies* (approx 1 1/4 cup crushed cookies)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Take out a 9-inch springform pan.
Make the crust: Process gingersnaps in the bowl of a food processor until finely ground. Add in all remaining ingredients and process until crumbs resemble wet sand. Transfer to 9-inch springform pan.
Spread crumbs evenly over the base of the pan and press down firmly to form an even layer.
Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is browned around the edges.
Make the filling: Prepare the filling while the crust is baking. Rinse out the food processor bowl or use a damp paper towel to remove all cookie crumbs. Combine all filling ingredients in the bowl and process for 2-3 minutes, or until mixture is smooth and well-combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl 2-3 times.
When crust is baked, pour the filling into the pan while it is still hot from the oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 325F and bake filling for 35-40 minutes, or until filling is set and jiggles only slightly when the pan is gently tapped.
Allow cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve.
*If you don’t have gingersnaps, you can use graham crackers, but add in a 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground ginger and a pinch of black pepper to give them some spice!