For Thanksgiving I was put in charge of desserts, as I noted in my previous menu post. Well the day has passed, and the desserts are finished, but the memory of this cheesecake is everlasting. As I was bringing the desserts in and out of the kitchen, the family's reponse to this one was amazing. Not just because of the appearance, but you tell someone a cheesecake has pumpkin AND bourbon, and they're on board!
This recipe was recommended to me by Bridget, and she did not steer me wrong! I used her adaptation for the filling and my own creation for the crust.... which was not so much a creation as just a simple crumbly crust made from grahams and butter. I was planning to use a honey or cinnamon graham crackers, but when my mom found ginger cat cookies for people at TJ's, I told her they sounded perfect and to go ahead and buy them!
The cheesecake turned out great! It cracked slightly as it cooled because my swirl on top was pretty wet. The pumpkin puree my mom got for me (Libby's) seemed much wetter than what I've been using (whole foods organic pumpkin puree), so that could be part of the reason. Nonetheless, it was fantastic! I served it with a homemade cinnamon-vanilla whipped cream, which I'll post later on.
Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 cups crushed ginger cat cookies or graham crackers
8 tbsp. (1 stick) melted butter
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
½ cup (3.5 ounces) packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
½ cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch1
½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350F.
Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray.
Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened.
Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 12 minutes.
Cool on wire rack while making filling.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth.
In a medium bowl, stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
Add granulated sugar mixture to cream cheese and beat for another 2 minutes.
In a medium bowl (or the same one), whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) until combined.
Beat at medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes.
3. Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks).
*To make the swirl, I removed 1/2 c. batter before pouring it into the crust and mixed it with 1/4 c. pumpkin in a seperate bowl, then piped it and used a knife to make the swirl on just the very top of the cheesecake.
Bake until center is just set and measures 140 to 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 50 to 60 minutes.
4. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours.
Remove sides of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.