This is a delicious pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust recipe that is one of our favorite fall desserts. I usually make it as a dessert for Thanksgiving dinner and it always ends up being everyone’s favorite! The gingersnap and pecan crust is a delicious base for this rich cheesecake. I use fresh pumpkin puree and lots and lots of yummy cheese. I have the pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust recipe card for you at the end of this post.
The first time I tried this pumpkin cheesecake was years ago when a friend brought it as a dessert for a Thanksgiving meal.
I love just about any kind of cheesecake but this one was a little different. The flavors were just so strong… The gingersnap cookies, the cinnamon, the pumpkin… It wasn’t your usual cheesecake with some strawberries on it, it was a true fall dessert!
I asked for the recipe and set out to mess with it a little bit to make it my own. I lowered the amount of sugar, and added pecans (because everything is so much better with pecans), and added the sour cream topping.
Since then, I make this pumpkin cheesecake every fall and it never lets me down. It’s not hard to make, it’s not too sweet, and it’s a great way to use some fresh pumpkin puree from the pumpkins we pick up at the pumpkin patch or grow.
It’s so good that I sometimes use the pumpkin that I can (read, How to Can Pumpkin) or the pumpkin puree that I freeze to make it during the year. But, of course, it’s always better during the fall!
Pumpkin Cheesecake With Gingersnap Crust…
I have never used pumpkin puree from a can. There are so many pumpkins available all around during the fall that I don’t see a reason to buy a can of pumpkin from the store.
We are going to need 2 cups of pumpkin puree for this recipe, so I’ll show you how I process a pumpkin and make pumpkin puree but before we start, let’s gather all the kitchen tools we are going to need…
Kitchen Tools We’ll Need to Make this Pumpkin Cheesecake…
A knife – to cut the pumpkin.
A cutting board – I like to work on a wooden cutting board when I cut vegetables.
Baking sheet – so we can bake the pumpkin.
Food processor – to make the pumpkin puree and to make the crust mixture.
Spatula – so we don’t leave anything behind in the mixing bowls or the bowl of the mixer and to spread the cheese mixture.
Measuring cups – to measure ingredients.
Measuring spoons – to measure the spices.
Mixing bowl – to mix the sour cream for the topping.
10” springform cake pan – this is what we are going to use to bake the cake in.
Making Pumpkin Puree for the Pumpkin Cheesecake…
I start with well a… pumpkin. It really doesn’t matter to me what kind of pumpkin it is. It can be a large Jack-o-lantern pumpkin or a smaller pie pumpkin, I like them all!
I start by cutting around the stem…
And removing it.
Then I cut the pumpkin in half…
And clean all the seeds and the stringy stuff out.
After I clean the inside of the pumpkin, I keep cutting it into more manageable pieces and then stick it in a pre-heated 375F oven for around 40 minutes.
If I roast it for a savory dish like my pumpkin and feta salad, my pumpkin salad with lentils, or my pumpkin and beetroot salad, I’ll brush it with some olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings. But since I am going to use the puree for a sweet dish I usually add nothing at all (you can brush it with some melted butter but there is no real need).
The time of the baking of the pumpkin might change depending on how thick it is and how ripe it is, so make sure to stick a fork in it once in a while to check if it’s done.
When it is, take it out of the oven and use a spoon to scoop the soft flesh right into the food processor. I let the food processor work and if I see that it’s having a hard time making a puree from the pumpkin, I add a little bit of water.
I set aside whatever I need for this pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust and freeze the rest in ziplock bags for later. I love using the puree in my low sugar pumpkin bread or to make a pumpkin soup.
Making the Gingersnap Crust…
I clean my beloved food processor quickly and dry it and then I start working on the crust for the cheesecake.
I throw in a 12 oz package of gingersnap cookies, 1 cup of pecans, and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. I close the food processor and pulse it a few times.
Once the cookies and pecans are all crumbled, I add 1 stick of cold butter that I cut into cubes. I close the food processor and pulse again…
Until the pieces of butter are well combined.
Next, I butter a 10” springform pan and add the crumbs. I pack them down lightly with my fingers or a spatula.
I bake this yummy gingersnap crust in a 350F preheated oven for 10 minutes. It will look pretty much the same when it comes out of the oven. When it’s done, I set it aside and let it cool a bit.
Making the Pumpkin Cheesecake…
While the crust is cooling, I add…
Three 8 oz packages of cream cheese (at room temperature)
A cup of ricotta cheese
And a cup of sugar into the bowl of a mixer.
I turn the mixer on and let it whip the cheese and sugar for a couple of minutes.
Next, I add 2 cups of pumpkin puree (which should be cool by now).
**Just a note here… Even though I use fresh pumpkin I am pretty sure that you can use canned pumpkin puree if you’d like. I’ve never tried it but I don’t see a reason for it not to work.
I turn the mixer on again and let it mix the pumpkin puree with the cheese. After the puree is incorporated, I add in the spices:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Then I also add 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of flour.
I turn the mixer on again and let it whip all of this goodness together for a couple of minutes.
Last but not least, I add four eggs one at the time while the mixer is working on low speed.
I give the mixer a couple more minutes to mix the eggs well and the cheese mixture is done!
The crust is usually cool by now so I go ahead and pour the cheese mixture over the crust…
Baking this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust…
I place the pan back in the oven (350F) and bake for 75 minutes.
Here is how it looks when it’s out of the oven. You want to make sure that the center of the cake is set before you remove it from the oven. It’s pretty easy to see this with cheesecakes. If the center is too wiggly, just bake it for a few more minutes.
Ok, now, here is the hardest part… You have to leave it on the counter to cool completely. Then, cover it with plastic food wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
It’s torture, really. It smells so good and it makes no sense to put this cake away but trust me, it’s worth it. Like many other cheesecakes, it tastes much better after it had time to sit for a little bit.
Also, don’t worry about the cracks on the top because we are going to cover them with a yummy sour cream topping.
Fast forward a few hours and the cake is now cold and had some time to sit in the fridge. Let’s serve it!
In a bowl, I mix 1.5 cups of sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 5 tablespoons of powdered sugar…
I add the sour cream mixture on top of the cake…
And spread it all over with a spoon.
Lastly, I chop some pecans and sprinkle them on top of the sour cream.
Now, look at that! Fall simply can’t get tastier or prettier than that.
I love that the crust is thick and the cheese mixture is so rich. The spices definitely bring the autumn aroma and mood into the house and the fresh pumpkin is shining in every bite!
I know that placing the cheesecake in the fridge to cool after it’s done baking is hard, but I actually like it because it means that you can make this cake a day or even two days before the large holiday meal. It really helps when you can prepare dishes ahead of time.
I hope you’ll give this cake a try! Please come back and let me know how you liked it.
You can find all of my pumpkin recipes on my Homestead Pumpkin Recipes page.
Here is the handy pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust printable…
For the Crust
- A 12 oz package of gingersnap cookies
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 stick of cold butter, cubed
For the Filling
- 3 8 oz packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup ricotta cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups pumpkin puree (instructions on how to make fresh pumpkin puree below)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs at room temperature
For the Topping
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons powdered sugar
- a couple tablespoons of chopped pecans to sprinkle on top of the cake.
- To make your own pumpkin puree, cut around the stem of the pumpkin and remove it.
- Cut the pumpkin in half and clean out the seeds and stringy stuff.
- Cut into smaller, more manageable pieces, set on a baking sheet and bake in a 375 F preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes or until soft.
- When the pumpkin is soft, remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Then use a spoon to scoop the pumpkin flesh right into the bowl of the food processor.
- Process the pumpkin for a couple of minutes. If you see that it's hard for the food processor to make a puree, add a little bit of water to help it.
- Set aside and let the puree cool completely. We are only going to use 2 cups (I usually freeze the rest in zip lock bags or use it to make pumpkin bread or soup).
- Give your food processor bowl a quick wash and dry it. Then add ginger snaps, pecans, and brown sugar. Pulse a few times until the cookies and pecans are crumbled.
- Add the cubed butter stick and pulse a few times to combine.
- Butter a 10'' springform pan and transfer the gingersnap crust mixture to it. Pack it down a bit. Bake in a 350F preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Set aside to cool.
- To the bowl of the mixer, add the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and sugar and whip for a couple of minutes.
- Add the (now cool) pumpkin puree and whip to combine.
- Add the spices, vanilla, and flour and whip to combine.
- Pour cheese mixture on top of the crust and bake on 350F for 75 minutes.
- Set on the counter to cool completely (it usually takes a couple of hours), then cover the cake with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool overnight.
- when you are ready to serve, make the topping by mixing sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until well combined. Spread over the cake and sprinkle crushed pecans on top.
You want to make sure that the center of the cake is set before you remove it from the oven. It's pretty easy to see this with cheesecakes. If the center is too wiggly, just bake it for a few more minutes.
Feel free to make this cake a day or even two days before the event. It gets better if it has time to sit in the fridge a bit.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 340 Total Fat: 24g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 95mg Sodium: 179mg Carbohydrates: 27g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 21g Protein: 6g