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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

While we prepare the garden for planting this spring, we’re still enjoying the bounty of last season’s pumpkin crop. It's not just for Thanksgiving! This double-layer cheesecake is surprisingly light in texture, and the gingersnap crust brings out the cheesecake's delicate pumpkin flavor. Still delicious using canned pumpkin puree and a prepared graham cracker crust.

serves 8

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (generous) pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed, for garnish (optional)

Gingersnap Crust

  • 31/2 cups gingersnap crumbs
  • 5-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs with half the melted butter. Mix thoroughly, and add a little butter at a time just until crumbs retain a shape, not too dry or wet. Press crumbs firmly over bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until crust starts to brown and become fragrant. Set aside and let cool while you prepare the filling.

Lower oven heat to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs, one at a time.
Remove 1 cup of the cheesecake batter and spread into bottom of prepared crust; set aside.
Add pumpkin and pie spice to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust to maintain separation of layers.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Garnish with whipped topping before serving.

Note: To cook fresh pumpkin, remove stems, cut pumpkin in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Put pumpkin halves cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet at bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour, testing doneness with a fork through the shell. Let cool slightly, scrape pumpkin out of its shell and puree in a food processor. One small pie pumpkin will make more than enough for this cheesecake.