150 g Gingerbread cookies
1/2 tsp Gingerbread spices
60 g Buttermelted
350 g Granulated sugar
900 g Cream cheeseat room temperature
80 g Sour creamat room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla extract
3 Eggsat room temperature
200 g Pumpkin puree
Halloween celebrations have been imported from the USA thanks to movies, TV series and cartoons. When we were little children in primary school, we used to look forward to the end of October to have a day off to celebrate the day of All Saints on the 1 November. It was a religious celebration, followed by All Souls day on the 2 November. You would pay a visit to the cemetery on that week to honour your loved graves and put fresh flowers next to their photos.
We’ve been celebrating our dead for more than a thousand years, as All Saints Day was introduced in the 7th century to remember the martyrs, the Saints killed to defend their faith. At the beginning the chosen day was in May, then it was moved to the beginning of November to replace the pagan festival of the end of summer.
Halloween has a similar origin: it was known by the Celts as Samhain and originally it was a day to remember and honour the souls of the dead. Nowadays we celebrate Halloween. The children choose a scary costume and visit neighbours screaming ‘trick or treat’. It is an acquired celebration, a good excuse to have a party. 😉
This pumpkin cheesecake features a delicious pumpkin spice swirl, rich and creamy cheesecake filling, a deliciously spiced and crunchy gingersnap cookie crust, and is topped with fresh whipped cream and salted caramel sauce.
If you look back on my other cheesecake recipe, you’ll notice that today’s pumpkin cheesecake uses mostly all of the same ingredients. Besides the amounts of each, the difference is that we’ll divide the batter and add pumpkin + spices to create a pumpkin swirl. All this sits on top of a crunchy gingersnap crust that you’ll spice with extra cinnamon and ginger.
The swirling part looks tricky, but it couldn’t be easier! My trick is to drop spoonfuls of alternating batter– plain and pumpkin– until the pan is filled, then use a toothpick or knife to swirl. Let’s get started!
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 180°C.
Make the crust: Using a food processor, pulse the gingersnap cookies into crumbs. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in ginger, cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter until combined. Mixture will look sandy. Press firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 22 cm springform pan. No need to grease the pan first.
Pre-bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the hot pan on a large piece of aluminum foil. The foil will wrap around the pan for the water bath in step 4. Allow crust to slightly cool as you prepare the filling.
Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract, then beat until fully combined. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing.
Scoop out some batter and place in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice until combined. Begin adding spoonfuls of each batter, the plain and the pumpkin, on top of the crust. Alternate until all the batter is used and pan is filled. Using a toothpick or knife, swirl the batters together by dragging the toothpick top to bottom, then left to right.
Prepare the simple water bath. Boil a pot of water. You need 2 cm of water in your roasting pan for the water bath, so make sure you boil enough. I use an entire kettle of hot water. As the water is heating up, wrap the aluminum foil around the springform pan. Place the pan inside of a large roasting pan. Carefully pour the hot water inside of the pan and place in the oven. (Or you can place the roasting pan in the oven first, then pour the hot water in. Whichever is easier for you.)
Bake the cheesecake for 55-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. When it’s done, the center of the cheesecake will slightly wobble if you gently shake the pan. Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour as it cools down. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Add toppings. See below for suggested toppings. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean and dip into warm water between each slice.
Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Whipped cream and salted caramel are perfect toppings for a lush pumpkin cheesecake. Fresh whipped cream is made with just 3 simple ingredients and comes together in only a few minutes. It’s creamy, light and delicious.
Start with cold heavy cream (240ml). The colder the cream, the easier and more successful it will whip. Cold cream also creates the lightest whipped cream! Slightly warm or room temperature cream does not equate to whipped cream. If you’re ambitious, you could even chill the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes. Whip the heavy cream, sugar (2 tbsp), and vanilla (1/2 tsp) together on medium-high speed.
Whipped cream only takes a couple minutes, but it’s only a few seconds between soft whipped cream and over-mixed whipped cream. Over-mixed whipped cream is curdled and grainy. Soft whipped cream, the ideal sweet spot, has a billowy and smooth texture. Stand by your mixer so you know when it’s ready.
The caramel doesn’t take long to make, only a short 10 minutes. However, you’ll want to let it cool down completely before using it in a recipe. The caramel will thicken as it cools. You can make this caramel in advance. Make sure it is covered tightly and store it for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe.
Heat granulated sugar (200 g) in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
Once the sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter (90g salted butter, room temperature cut up into 6 pieces). Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes. A whisk helps if you find the butter is separating from the sugar.
Very slowly, drizzle in 120 ml of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp of salt. Allow to cool down before using.