This cheesecake/pumpkin pie/pecan pie tri-brid was the best cheesecake I've ever made.
I LOATHE using water baths for cheesecakes and custards because I am terrible at keeping the water out of my pans. This low temperature, long baking method eliminates the need for a water bath to ensure even baking. It is wonderful. It takes some TLC, but it's totally worth it in the end.
No cracking, no bullshit. Best pumpkin cheesecake ever.
- One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups)
- 8 whole graham crackers, broken
- 1/2 cup pecans (2 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 1/2 cups cream cheese (14 ounces), at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Praline topping (recipe follows!)
- Set a rack over a baking sheet and line the rack with 2 layers of paper towels. Spread the pumpkin puree over the paper towels and let drain for 2 hours, until the puree is fairly dry.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter the bottom and side of a 9-inch springform pan. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground.
- Add the pecans and brown sugar and pulse until finely ground.
- Add the melted butter and pulse just until incorporated.
- Press the crumbs onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake the crust for 5-8 minutes, just until it is fragrant and lightly browned. Let the crust cool completely. (Watch your crust carefully! I burned TWO before I got this right. When it's fragrant and darkish…take it out!)
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese until it is very smooth.
- In a small bowl, whisk the sugar with the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.
- With the machine on, add the spiced sugar to the cream cheese and beat until creamy, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl.
- Carefully add the drained pumpkin puree and beat until smooth.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl between each addition. (This process is tedious, but completely necessary for light, fluffiness!)
- Beat in the heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla until the cheesecake mixture is smooth.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 12 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 220° and bake the cheesecake for about 3 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 150°; the center will be very jiggly but not liquify.
- Let the cheesecake cool on a rack, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Run a hot knife around the cheesecake and loosen the springform ring. Carefully remove the ring and transfer the cake to a plate.
- Using a warm knife, cut the cake into wedges and serve with the Pecan Praline Topping and whipped cream.
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups pecans (8 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer just until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Let the caramel cool.
- Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until they are lightly browned and fragrant.
- Transfer the pecans to a work surface and let them cool.
- Coarsely chop the nuts, stir them into the cooled caramel and serve.