By Lee & Lou Havlicek.
Lee & Lou Cook.
Our holiday cheesecake is not too sweet and has all the right warm holiday flavors: ginger, vanilla, maple, pecan, and pumpkin. In order to get the best, most delicious versions of these though, you’re going to need the real deal. That means using fresh ginger and real vanilla and real maple syrup—not the fake stuff.
Beautiful enough to grace any holiday table, this cake is pumpkin-y and spiced, but in a deliciously clean, creamy pumpkin pie sort of way, not a pumpkin spiced latte kind of way. The ginger and sour cream brighten up the richness of the cheesecake, and the pecan crust adds another layer of great flavor rather than just being a whatever-bland wall of crumbs that’s only there to keep the cake from spilling out everywhere.
Bonus: since the crust is just made of nuts, it also happens to be gluten-free, making this an especially crowd-friendly holiday dessert. 2nd bonus: since the cake needs to set-up for at least 8 hours in the fridge, you really do have to make it ahead of time. That’s one less day-of to-do on your holiday checklist.
So, we hope you’ll make it and share it. And when you put it out on your table, we hope it brings a smile and some joy to you and those you love.
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Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake with Pecan Crust
Makes one 8-inch cheesecake
Notes: This cheesecake needs to set in the fridge for at least 8 hours before serving. Because of that, we like to make ours the day before we want to eat it and refrigerate overnight.
Toasting the pecans can also be done ahead of time, even several days before you use them. Just pre-heat the oven to 350º F, spread the nuts out on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure to check them and give them a shake every few minutes until lightly browned or they’ll burn—and quickly, too. If you are using them that day, set aside to cool. Otherwise, let cool and put them in a jar until baking day.
- A food processor
- An 8-inch springform pan
Pecan Crust Ingredients:
- 2 1/2 cup lightly toasted pecan halves
- 2 tbs butter, cut into small pieces and softened to room temperature + more for greasing the pan
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:
- 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese (full or low fat or Neufchâtel will all work)
- 3/4 cup pumpkin
- 1/4 cup + 3 tbs real maple syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbs fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp real vanilla extract
- 2 cups sour cream (low fat is ok, but let’s be honest—not as good)
- 1 tbs granulated sugar
- 1 tsp real vanilla extract
* Preheat your oven to 375º F and put an oven rack in the middle.
* Make the Pecan Crust:
* Generously grease the springform cake pan. Cut out a circle of parchment and place it on the bottom.
* Add the toasted pecans halves to your food processor and pulse several times until the pieces are uniform in size.
* Add the butter and sugar and process until well combined and nuts are finely chopped.
* Put the nuts into your greased springform pan and carefully, wipe your processor bowl and blade clean with paper towels.
*Press the chopped pecans into the bottom and up the sides of your cake pan, making the layer as even as possible. The nuts shouldn’t go all the way up the sides—stopping roughly an inch from the top is good. Cover the outside bottom of the pan with foil to prevent the melting butter in the crust from dripping into your oven. Set aside.
* Make the filling:
* Add cream cheese to food processor and and run for a few seconds to smooth.
* Add the pumpkin, maple syrup, and ginger. Process until well combined.
* Add the eggs one at a time, processing after each addition.
* Add the vanilla and blend.
* Pour the batter into the crust in your prepared cake pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cake is set but still jiggles a little in the center.
* While the cake is baking make the topping:
* In a bowl, mix the sour cream with the sugar and vanilla. Set aside to stay at room temperature until needed.
* When your cake is done, remove from oven and carefully spread the topping evenly on top, smoothing with a spatula.
*Return cake to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
*Cool the cake to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 8 hours (overnight works perfectly).
* To serve, carefully release the sides of the springform pan, and slip your cake onto your platter or cutting board.
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