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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Caramel Sauce and Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream


As I've said before, I absolutely despise Pumpkin Pie. This is terribly odd as I LOVE everything else pumpkin. Anyways, because of this hatred, every year for Thanksgiving I make a dessert that includes pumpkin, but is not a pumpkin pie. Last year I made a Pumpkin Banana Cream Pie that was positively scrumptious, but this year's pumpkin pie substitute was, dare I say, TWICE as good!

This cheesecake filling was luxuriously creamy with hints of spice throughout. I've left the whipped cream topping unsweetned as I think you will agree that the cheesecake and caramel are plenty sweet enough and the slight tang that the creme fraiche adds is a delightful compliment.

My two absolute favorite parts of this cheesecake were the crust, which was totally awesome with the mixture of the nutty pecans and gingersnap cookies, and the maple caramel sauce which I have to refrain from drinking straight out of the squeeze-bottle, and which I can say from experience is AWESOME when heated up and drizzled over ice cream (by the way, homemade vanilla ice cream post is coming in the near future!).

I would have loved to get some pictures of slices of this cheesecake but unfortunately Mikey and I were not given much time to take pictures as everyone was ready to dig in!


Pumpkin Cheesecake
recipe adapted from here


  • 1 1/2 cups ground gingersnap cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs
for crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, fine grind the ground cookies, toasted pecans, and brown sugar. Add in the melted butter and whir to combine.
  3. Press the crust onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2-3 inch sides.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes.
for filling:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until light and creamy. Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture and do with it what you will. (The original recipe uses this as a topping but instead I used the creme fraiche whipped cream.)
  2. Add in the pumpkin, whipping cream, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Beat until well combined. Add in the eggs 1 at a time, beating until just incorporated after each addition.
  3. Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with 2 layers of aluminum foil. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan and fill with cheesecake filling. Place the roasting pan in the oven and fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan (it's much easier to fill it with water when it's already in the oven).
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes, until the top is set but the cheesecake still jiggles when lightly shaken. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. To serve, spread the Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream (recipe below) over the top of the cheesecake and top with drizzles of the Maple Caramel Sauce (recipe below). Serve with extra caramel on the side.
Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream

  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Chill the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer for at least 15 minutes before making whipped cream.
  2. In the cold bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the creme fraiche and whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
Maple Caramel Sauce
recipe from here

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp maple flavoring
  1. Combine the cream, sugar, and syrup in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is caramel-colored and reduced to 1 3/4 cups, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. (Don't be alarmed in the mixture bubbles up. Stir it and it will subside. If it gets too high you can turn down the heat until it subsides.)
  3. Stir in the maple flavoring. Cool slightly, cover, and chill.


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