Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake-crisis averted again

pcheeseAs usual, I was waaaay too busy preparing for Thanksgiving to blog about what I planned to make. As I’ve said before with these big holidays, I am a mom first, a food blogger second. So here it is, my after-the-fact musings on my favorite holiday.

Every year I make a pumpkin cheesecake instead of a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Every year the same semi-disaster happens and every year I develop amnesia about it when I plan to make it again. It begs the question: what is the difference between a holiday tradition and a traditionally dumb thing I do again and again?


Straight out of the oven: a little cracked, a little burnt around the edges. How do I forget this happens every year?

The pumpkin cheesecake is delicious and gets lots of ooohs and aaahs from guests when I tell them about it (and before they see it) but making it pretty is my big challenge each year. It comes out of the oven looking like this:

When I remove it from the oven I have a panic attack. It’s so ugly!! What am I going to do??? But some careful slicing and even more careful topping-making, it looks acceptable. NOT beautiful, but acceptable.

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 375


  • ½ cup Graham cracker crumbs
  • ¾ cup gingersnap crumbs
  • 2.5 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 TSP ground ginger
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 egg white beaten

To make the crust: First off, you can now buy graham cracker crumbs in the box, already crumbed. Gingersnaps, however, tend to be very hard cookies when you buy them in a box so I recommend putting some gingersnaps in a plastic bag and smashing them with the back of a spoon to break them up. After that, you can put the broken pieces in a blender or food processor to pulverize them. Combine all crumbs with the ginger and sugar. Stir in the melted butter. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch Springform pan. Brush the crust with the lightly beaten egg white and chill for at least 15 minutes.

To make the filling:

  • 16 oz of cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plus
  • 1 tbsp canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 TSP ground ginger
  • ½ TSP ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves

Using a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sour cream, and both sugars until smooth. Gently beat in egg yolks, then pumpkin puree, vanilla, cornstarch and all the spices. In another large bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed using a whisk or the whisk attachment on an electric mixer. Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture using a hand-held spatula.

Fill an 8” sq baking pan halfway with water. Set it in the rack below the cheesecake rack in the oven.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust pan. Place in the oven and bake until the center does not tremble when the pan is gently shaken, between 1 hour and 1 ½ hours. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can make the topping:

  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 TSP ground ginger
  • 1.5 TBSP unsalted butter, but into small pieces

Turn the broiler in high. Combine all these ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork or clean fingers until crumbly.


A very careful slicing away of the uneven burnt parts

Now this is where it gets dicey for me. The creature that comes out of the oven is ugly-it’s puffy, it’s uneven, it’s cracked. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake to separate it from the pan. Remove the edges of the Springform pan and carefully trim any burnt or uneven edges with a sharp knife. Go slowly so you don’t take away big chunks. Spread the topping evenly over the top of the cheesecake filling in any cracks. Broil for 30-40 seconds with the oven door cracked keeping an eye on it every second!!!! The topping will melt and become a beautiful textured caramel.


Not perfect looking but soooo much better than before!

Place it on a rack and let it cool to room temp. Refrigerate it overnight. Devour.


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