Really, people. Read that title again. Go ahead, I’ve got time.
Caramel, pumpkin and warm fall spices… I may or may not drool when I think about it.
I really couldn’t think of the right way to name this particular cheesecake when there were so many elements to include. For instance, this was what I first typed: Fall-Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust and Caramel Sauce.
My high school English teacher, Mrs. Oberlander, would cringe if she knew I was using this as my title. We had a “five words or less” thing going during our journalism section my senior year, and I know that it would be an awful shame if someday, somehow, poor Mrs. Oberlander came upon my recipe blog and saw such a title atrocity as “Fall-Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust and Caramel Sauce.”
But alas, I feel like there’s no way to adequately capture the essence of this cheesecake without telling you that cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice all make an appearance. And also caramel sauce. Did I mention the caramel sauce? Oh, right. Well, did I mention the gingersnap pecan crust? Oh, because there’s a gingersnap pecan crust. And caramel sauce.
If the thought of a cracked cheesecake top keeps you up at night, you could certainly try one of the many, many, many suggestions for avoiding this situation. Most of them involve some sort of hot water bath or steaming option. But I must confess, cracked cheesecake tops don’t bother me. Especially when they’re going to be covered with caramel sauce and toasted pecans.
Please, oh please, if you need a fall dessert and don’t want to make pie (HA! who wouldn’t want to make pie?), may I please suggest this delicious pumpkin cheesecake. That has caramel sauce. And also gingersnap pecan crust. Really.
4 (8oz) cream cheese, softened (you can use 1/3 less fat, but NEVER use fat free)
1 1/2c sugar
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree (don’t get pumpkin pie filling)
2Tbsp milk, half-and-half, or cream
caramel sauce, extra gingersnaps, and pecans for topping
For caramel sauce:
4Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1/2c milk or half-and-half
Make crust by crushing gingersnaps and pecans in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can place the gingersnaps and pecans in a large zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin. Stir in brown sugar and salt. Stir in melted butter and stir to coat all the crumbs. Press into a 10″ springform pan. I find this works best using a flat-bottomed cup or measuring cup working from the center toward the edges, pressing the crumbs up onto the sides of the springform. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin and spices, combining well. Add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Stir in the cream until just combined.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling. Smooth the top with a spatula (an angled frosting spatula works best, but any will do). Place cheesecake in the middle of the oven and bake at 350 for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until no longer soupy. It will likely still be somewhat jiggly (not liquid) in the middle, but will set as it cools.
Cool 30 minutes out of the oven, then refrigerate, covered for at least 4 hours till completely chilled, or overnight. Before serving, top with caramel sauce, gingersnaps, and pecans.
To make caramel sauce, place sugar in a clean saucepan over medium heat. Without stirring or with VERY minimal stirring, allow sugar to melt and bubble until it turns a medium amber color. Remove from heat and add butter, half-and-half, and salt. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until caramel melts into the butter and half-and-half. (If your caramel has balled up, you can place the pan over very low heat while you stir to help it melt into the sauce).