The first time that I had pumpkin cheesecake was on the deck of AJ’s on Tybee Island. We were there for GI Joe’s weekend getaway with the National Guard. One of our most favorite places to eat is AJ’s. The food there is fabulous and the sunset is the most beautiful you would ever experience. And to top it off the cheesecake was heavenly. I was so disappointed when returning in December of that year that the chef that prepared the cheesecake had left and it was no longer available. It was a sad night.
I was at the checkout counter a couple of months ago and on the cover of the Pillsbury Cookbook was guess what this Pumpkin-Chai Cheesecake. Without thinking it was purchased and the rest is a memory of a great family Thanksgiving dinner this year. My family got together Sunday for the big day. It was a fantastic day even though we missed the Athlete. I do love Thanksgiving. We have a lot to be thankful for this year and yes one of them is this cheesecake. Please don’t let the length of this recipe scare you away. It really is quite simple to make.
Pumpkin-Chai Cheesecake adapted from Pillsbury yield 16 servings
- 2 cups crushed teddy bear-shaped cinnamon graham snacks (from 10- oz box)
- 1/4 cup of melted butter
- 4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom ( don’t leave this out)
- Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spray 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap heavy-duty foil ( DO NOT use regular foil.) If using a water bath the water will leak through.
- In small bowl, mix crust ingredients. Press mixture in bottom and 1 inch up side of pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes.
- To minimize cracking there are two methods to use. I like using the water bath method which I will explain later in the recipe. Another method is to place a shallow pan half full of HOT water on lower oven rack.
- In large bowl, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Don’t overbeat. Adding more air will make the cheesecake crack when the air bubbles try to escape. Spoon 3 cups of the mixture onto crust: spread evenly.
- To the remaining cream cheese mixture, add pumpkin, spices and cardamom . Mix with wire whisk until smooth. Spoon over mixture in the pan.
- Place the foil wrapped springform pan in a shallow baking pan. Add very HOT water to the pan filling halfway. Be careful not to spill water into the cheesecake.
- Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes or until edge of cheesecake is set at least 2 inches from edge of pan but the center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved. Run small metal spatula around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Turn oven off; open door at least 4 inches. Let the cheesecake remain in oven 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack 30 minutes. Cover loosely; refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
- Garnish with whipped cream.
- For whipping cream – Place 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Beat until somewhat thick. Add about 1/4 cup or less of powdered sugar and beat until cream will hold a peak. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
The Teacher Cooks