A crust made with gingersnaps spices up this creamy, spicy dessert, a very autumn-appropriate take on classic cheesecake. The delicate texture is achieved by cooking the cheesecake in a bain-marie, a water bath made by surrounding the springform pan with boiling water — be sure to wrap the springform in a thorough layer of foil in order to keep the water out. This recipe first appeared in our November 2011 issue along with Linda Monastra’s story True Harvest.
For the Crust
- 1 1⁄4 cups (about 8 oz.) finely ground gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 3⁄4 cup finely ground hazelnuts
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
For the Cheesecake and Topping
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1⁄4 tsp. ground ginger
- 3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
- 4 eggs
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄3 cup maple syrup
- 3 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
- 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin purée
- 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 (16-oz.) container sour cream
- Make the crust: Heat oven to 325°. Wrap the outside of a 9″ springform pan with foil and set aside. Combine gingersnap crumbs, hazelnuts, butter, and brown sugar in a food processor, and process until evenly combined. Transfer to pan and press evenly into bottom and halfway up side; bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.
- Make the filling: Set a kettle of water to boil. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until evenly incorporated. Add cream, syrup, 2 tsp. vanilla, and pumpkin, and mix until smooth. Pour filling over crust and place springform pan into a large roasting pan; pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up side of spring-form pan. Bake until filling jiggles slightly in the center when the pan is tapped on the side, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the topping: Whisk together sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, and sour cream in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside.
- Pour sour cream topping over filling and gently smooth top; continue baking for 5 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath and let cool completely to room temperature. Chill until set, at least 4 hours or overnight, before serving.