I have been wanting to make a pumpkin cheesecake for a while now. I wasn't sure which recipe I wanted to use, as I had seen this recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website and most of their recipes are pretty good. However, as I was searching for a recipe I came across this one from RecipeZaar. The only kind of pumpkin cheesecake I've ever had was from the Cheesecake Factory, so that was how I finally decided to try the recipe below. It has honestly been such a long time since I had the Cheesecake Factory version, so I can't really comment on how close of a copycat recipe this really is. Regardless, this turned out so good and everyone at work loved it... including those who don't like pumpkin! :) Everyone requested the recipe...
I had seen a few recipes in which the cheesecake was topped with a caramel sauce and thought that would be a great idea. So I went to my 'go-to' blog, Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, in search of a great caramel sauce. Wow, did I ever find a good recipe for caramel sauce! I could eat this stuff up by the spoonful alone! :) I don't think I will ever buy caramel ice cream topping again... this was so much better!
On a side note... you'll notice that the lighting in the photos in this post is not uniform. That's because by the time I finished this cheesecake, it was dark outside... so I took a set of photos with just our overhead/indoor lighting. Then I took another set the next day with natural lighting. For those who are working on their food photography skills, it's a great example of how lighting can affect the appearance of your photos.
The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
caramel sauce, recipe to follow
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tbsp sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly. Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan. You don't want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.
In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. The top will turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.
When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Top each slice with caramel sauce.
from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody (original recipe from Baking: From My Home To Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin 2006)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber., 5-10 minutes. Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream and butter. When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps.