pumpkin cheesecake with toasted meringue and a gingersnap crust
Friends. This may be the best thing I’ve ever made.
Do I say that every time? I don’t think so. This recipe is just the absolute epitome of so many things I love. Pumpkin. Cheesecake. Gingersnaps. Warm Fall spices. Toasted meringue. All together in one big happy family.
I’ve tested it three times in the last week just to be sure that’s it’s perfect. (Not that this was a hardship…let me tell ya!) First to get the flavour just right. And then I tried a non-water-bath method that WORKED!! No cracks…and no scary water bath. The lovely folks over at Duft and Co Bakehouse sent me a DM on instagram after seeing my water-bath paranoia (hahaha), and shared their secret of baking their cheesecakes around 250-275 rather than dealing with a water bath. I’m absolutely thrilled…because while I don’t think cracks are the end of the world, especially if you’re piling meringue on top….but it still feels pretty fancy to have a perfectly smooth cheesecake to serve and impress your friends and family!
Also, I made the gingersnap crust completely from scratch….by making gingersnaps first, crumbling them up and baking all of the moisture out, and then blending them up to make crumbs! You can always buy gingersnaps from the store if you’d like to save yourself some time. No biggie. But I do think it makes a difference!
recipe: Kelsey Siemens
yields: one 8-inch cheesecake
2 cups ground gingersnap crumbs (see below for instructions on how to make from scratch)
6 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix together gingersnap crumbs and melted butter. Press into a greased 8-inch springform pan, and bake for 8-10 minutes until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
2 packages cream cheese - room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup (7.9 oz) pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice (or pumpkin pie spice)
2 large eggs - room temperature
1 large egg yolk - room temperature
Preheat oven to 260 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar together on low for 1-2 minutes until completely smooth. Add in pumpkin puree, spices, and flour, and beat on low for 2 minutes until smooth. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and gently run it through the batter to press some of the air bubbles out.
Add in eggs one at a time, mixing until barely mixed, and then add the yolk and beat on low until just incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and press out air bubbles.
Pour batter into the cooled crust, and slam the entire thing down onto the counter firmly several times. You should see bubbles pop on the surface. We don’t want them rising through the batter while it bakes.
Bake for 55 minutes, then turn off the oven and crack the door and let it rest in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, run a thin knife around the edge and leave in the pan for at least an hour. Carefully remove the springform pan wall piece, and let the cheesecake come to room temperature before placing into the fridge in an airtight container. Allow to chill for several hours, or overnight. This cake is great to make a day or two before you need it.
Place the cheesecake onto a cake plate. Make meringue (see recipe below), and pile it onto the cheesecake right before serving. Use a kitchen torch to gently toast the meringue. Serve.
For the gingersnap crust, I took half a batch of my homemade gingersnaps, crumbled them up onto a baking sheet, and baked on 250 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. I allowed them to cool, and then crushed them up further to ensure no soft bits remained. If they did, I baked it for a bit longer. We want super dry, crunchy cookie bits here!
Place the dried gingersnap crumbles into a food processor or blender, and blend into crumbs. I did this a half cup at a time. Repeat until you have 2 cups of fine crumbs.
4 large egg whites (4 oz or 1/2 cup)
1 cup (8oz) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
First ensure your saucepan and mixing bowl are freshly washed and dried, and free from any grease.
In a small saucepan, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Assemble a double boiler, and place saucepan on top. Stir occasionally, and heat until mixture reaches 150 degrees F and stay here for a couple minutes. Remove from heat, and place mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Beat on medium-low speed for 4 minutes, and then increase speed to high for another 4 minutes. Beat until it forms a thick and glossy meringue. Mix in vanilla extract. Use immediately.
happy cheesecake making!