You wake up one autumn morning, cold from the chilled air hanging about in the room. Yawning, shivering and stretching, you start to ponder what kinds of foods the day will entail. Breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. The possibilities are endless. Warming the house with something slow baked seems both inevitable and enticing. After all, baking and slow cooking, is what defines so many autumnal recipes. In a season where pumpkin reigns supreme and most often found in pies, it’s a breath of fresh air to have something out of the ordinary. Why should pies take all the credit for this sweet versatile fruit? These days, pumpkin is making a guest appearance in so many classic recipes. Most commonly, from pies to breads, but also a few twists like pancakes, puddings, and cookies, these orange globes are everywhere. The idea of a pumpkin cheesecake hits like a speeding bullet. Creamy, rich and smooth are all the right words one needs to hear for any dessert. Throw in sweet and delicious and we have ourselves a winner.
The cream cheese makes it incredibly decadent. The whip cream, cinnamon and pecans throw it over the edge. The fact that it is a gluten free dessert, makes it unbelievable. Serve this at the end of any meal. Sit back, relax and watch as your guest’s faces go from surprised, to happy, to delighted, to sad as they finish their piece; licking their plates and forks completely clean. All the while knowing that you just made and watched people devour an incredible dessert that incorporated all of autumn’s best flavors.
Shall we get started? I think so…
The first thing we tackle, is the crust.
In order to make this a gluten free cheesecake, I used Gluten Free Gingersnaps from Trader Joe’s. You can pretty much find them everywhere. I’ve seen them both at Ralph’s and Albertsons, so have no fear. They’re out there. You’ll find them.
Now of course if you’re not gluten intolerant, or on any special gluten free diet, you can definitely use normal gingersnaps, graham crackers or cookies.
Place them in a food processor.
Look at them, they look just like regular good ol’ snaps. No one will know they’re gluten free. I wont tell if you wont. It’ll be our little secret. Shhhh….
Your gluten intolerants, wont even believe you!
Let’s sweeten the deal.
Pour in a little granulated sugar.
Pulse a couple of times, until it resembles course crumbs.
While the food processor is running, stream in the melted butter.
Slowly. For no particular reason other than I like to enjoy the smell and sound of the melted butter trickling in.
The crumbs will appear to be moist and come together.
Wait a second, I see pink…….is that who I think it is?
It is! It is! It’s Mr. Piggy Spat.
Hip hip hooray….okay, that’s out of my system now. Let’s get back to business.
Before we pour in the crumbs, we have to prepare the pan.
We’ll need a springform pan.
Tear off a piece of aluminum foil.
I’ll make my sister happy for a brief moment; Please use recycled aluminum foil. There you go, I plugged in your environmentally friendly foil.
Okay, so I used two sheets, not one.
Grab two sheets of recycled aluminum foil.
Wrap the outside of the springform pan with it. This will prevent water from seeping in, just in case.
This will make sense in a few. It’s okay, you can trust me. I know what I’m doing…..most of the time. The other times, I’m just guessing. No I’m kidding, I really do know what I’m doing.
Pour the crumbs into the pan, that I sprayed with a cooking spray, to prevent from sticking.
Use a measuring cup to flatten out the bottom and sides.
Once the crust is flattened out and ready to go, bake for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Who cares about the crust when we have a pumpkin filling to make.
The first thing we need….
Room temperature cream cheese. Why room temperature you might ask?
Well thank you for asking, I’m glad you did! Step right up, and I’ll tell you. Ladies and gentleman, the reason why I like making cheesecake with room temperature cream cheese…no wait. The reason why it is important to make cheesecake with room temperature cream cheese is because it allows for a creamier, smoother, lump-free cheesecake. It blends better with no bumps, when it is at room temperature.
Dump the white blocks of gold into the food processor.
Okay, so I didn’t clean my bowl from when I made the crust. Sue me! Its okay, no harm done….it’s added flavor. Yea, added flavor.
Add granulated sugar.
Close and blend.
Add a few eggs.
And blend again.
And now for the main star of the show, put your hands together for……………..PUMPKIN Purée.
Homemade pumpkin purée just throws this recipe over the edge and it’s super easy to make. In case you missed my pumpkin pureeing demonstration from earlier, here it is. Click here. Go on, click it. You know you want to. Don’t fight it. You can do it. Please go on. Click here!
Okay, so once you’ve read up on how to roast and purée a few pumpkins add it to the cheesecake filling.
Vanilla extract. Pour it in.
I lied earlier, the star of this whole show isn’t pumpkin, its actually….
Yup Cinnamon. We all know, its the apple of my eye. The love of my life. The air that I breathe. The food that I eat.
Also add a little nutmeg and allspice….I guess. If you want to go all the way and make it resemble that classic pie, that we don’t like to mention on here.
Blend all together until smooth.
Stop! Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Make sure everything gets well incorporated.
Use a rubber spatula.
I’m not even going to say anything.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust from earlier.
Place the unbaked cheesecake into a roasting pan with high sides. I use my turkey pan. Might as well get multiple uses out of it, instead of just once a year for the bird. Right?
Pour hot water into the pan, halfway up the pan. This is called a bain-marie, it’s our fawncy culinary term for the day. It just means cooking in water to create steam. Often used to make custards, flans and cheesecake. This prevents the cheesecake from cracking in the center.
See, the aluminum foil makes sense now…..ahhhhhhhwooooooooooahhhhhhwoooooo.
Thank you, thank you.
Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes.
Once baked through, the cheesecake will be firm and set. Make sure it does not jiggle at all in the center.
Remove from the oven and the bain-marie, water bath. Allow to cool for a bit. Place in the fridge to cool completely for about 6 hours or over night.
Once completely cooled, remove the springform side.
Decorate with fresh whipped cream, pecans and cinnamon. Let you’re imagination go wild!
This cheesecake is a blank canvas awaiting your artistic touch.
I decorated mine like so, please feel free to do it this way as well.
Words can’t even describe my love for cinnamon and pumpkin, the two ingredients just go together. They were meant to be inseparable. You can’t have one without the other, well, I mean you can, but it wouldn’t taste the same. You’d know something is missing. So go on and make this soon. Like right now, this very instant. Go on, and let me know what you think. Hope you all enjoy!
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
This recipe is a great gluten free treat. It can easily be made with regular gingersnaps or graham crackers for those who don’t wish it to be gluten free. Although, you won’t be able to taste the difference.
- 2 cups gluten free gingersnaps
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup homemade pumpkin puree (or canned)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground all-spice
- pecan halves, for garnishing
For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap outside of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with foil to prevent water from entering. Place gluten free gingersnaps into a food processor. Throw in the sugar and pulse until it resembles course crumbs. While the machine is on, stream in the butter. Press mixture into bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the springorm pan. Bake crust about 5 minutes until slightly darkened. Set aside. Maintain oven temperature.
For the filling: Blend the room temperature cream cheese and sugar in a food pocessor or heavy duty mixer until smooth. Add pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and spices. Mix or Process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is well incorporated. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.
Place the cheesecake into a deep roasting pan. Pour hot water half-way up the side of the pan.
Bake cheesecake until the center is set (make sure the center does not jiggle at all, when gently shaken) and edges begin to brown, about 1 hour and 5 minutes. Cool in the springform pan on a rack. Chill uncovered until cold, at least 6 hours.
Run a knife around between the crust and pan sides; remove the outer ring of the pan. Arrange pecans decoratively on cake, and dollop with fresh cinnamon whip cream. Just add a little cinnamon to the cream when you whip it! It’ll taste fantastic. Enjoy!