Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake

Rich and delightful!

This is my entrance fee to every Thanksgiving meal I attend. I’m no cheesecake expert, and this is the only one I ever make- haven’t had it miss yet. A friend forwarded me the recipe from Epicurious (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bourbon-pumpkin-cheesecake-108770) and assured me that I could make a delicious cheesecake, even without a stand mixer. (I’m still a hold-out.)

The only changes I made were swapping out half of the graham cracker crumbs for crushed ginger snaps and adjusting the topping recipe. It always made way too much, and it wasn’t thick enough to really pile on the cheesecake. I haven’t had anyone be able to identify the bourbon flavor, but I put it in anyway just in case. Maybe it’s just a case of depth and complexity.

Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake

Crust:

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup crushed ginger snap cookies

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Filling:

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (make sure it’s pure pumpkin and not the pre-sweetened, pre-spiced pumpkin pie filling)

3 large eggs

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tbsp heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp bourbon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature

Topping:

1 cup sour cream

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp bourbon

pecan halves or pieces for garnish

 

Directions:

Line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper and grease sides generously. Mix crust ingredients together (or pulse in a food processor) and press into the bottom of the pan and a little bit up the sides. (I use the bottom of a measuring cup to get a nice smooth crust.) Chill crust while you make the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 and use middle rack.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.  Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan, in case the springform leaks. Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. (Start checking at 50 minutes, but be prepared for it to take longer. After an hour my center is still not soft, so I usually end up baking it an extra 20 minutes or so.) Don’t worry if the top cracks- it’ll be covered by the topping. Transfer the cheesecake to a cooling rack while you make the topping.

Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and bourbon in a bowl until smooth, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake another 5 minutes.

Cool the cheesecake on a rack for at least three hours, and then transfer to the fridge to chill completely. Run a knife around the edge of the springform to loosen it before removing the ring. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving (if you can possibly wait that long).