Ohhhh it's almost here! The holiday that literally revolves around food. Isn't it grand? No wonder it's my hubby's favorite holiday. Although I'm not sure I share his sentiments on gravy...Oh, don't get me wrong, I like gravy like anyone else, but I usually reserve it for my mashed potatoes and turkey. The hubs, however, reserves it for his entire plate, cranberry sauce and all =) No really, I may take a picture of it this year, it is truly a sight.
So, speaking of this great holiday, I must share this cheesecake that my mom makes every year. I made it for the first time last year when I hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my house and I won't lie, I was pretty dang proud of myself. I know there are lots of pumpkin cheesecakes out there, but of course I always think my Mama's is the best and plus it looks all cool and swirly!
I love eating…err…making cheesecakes. But I always had that nagging cracking and sinking issue. I thought it was possibly because I was overmixing after adding in my eggs, but I fixed that problem and still had the cracking. Then I found out about this crazy thing called a water bath. I know…why do I want to bathe my cheesecake? Let me tell you though…it worked! I also allowed it to cool for about 30 minutes inside the oven. This was literally the first cheesecake I’ve made that didn’t crack the least bit or sink at all.
As you can figure out, my issue was apparently the temperature changes. The water keeps the cake a consistent temperature and lets it heat up and cool more gradually. All you need to do is put your ready-to-bake cheesecake into a larger pan filled with water up to about half of the height of your springform pan…Just be sure to wrap your pan tightly with foil to be sure you don’t have leaking!
Back to this cheesecake…the graham cracker crust I sort of made up on my own, not unlike any other graham cracker crust you can find most anywhere. I do love making a homemade crust, but if you wanted to sub the ready-made stuff, go for it, I ain’t mad at ya! And I really do love the presentation of the pumpkin swirl, it’s just pretty =) I mean let's be honest here, if you like cheesecake, and you like pumpkin pie, you will love this cheesecake.
I just love the combo of the cream cheese and pumpkin and spices, it just mixes together to make this 9 inch heaven in a crust. And while we're on the subject, I mean pumpkin is really good for Thanksgiving AND Christmas right? So why not just have pumpkin cheesecake twice? Ok, sorry, I’m getting a little cheesecake happy. Here we go…
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
1 ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
2 TB brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup butter, melted
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Preheat oven to 315 degrees.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Pour melted butter over the graham cracker mixture and stir until all crumbs are moistened. Press onto the bottom of a 9 in. springform pan and about 1 ½ in. up the sides. I use a glass to form the crust flat against the sides and flush against the corners and such. It works!
Beat cream cheese, ¾ cup sugar, and vanilla with a mixer. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each additional until just blended. Try not to overmix! Remove 1 ½ cups batter. Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin, and spices into the remaining batter.
Spoon half of the pumpkin batter into crust. Top with spoonfuls of half of the plain batter. Repeat layers and swirl with a knife when done to create the marbled effect.
If you want to do the water bath: Wrap bottom up to the sides of springform pan as tightly as possible with aluminum foil. Place inside of a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with water about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.Bake 55 minutes or until the center is almost set. Let cool for about 30 minutes inside a turned off oven with the door cracked open. Then allow to cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours before serving.
Optional: I like to garnish each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon =)