I realize some might consider this statement Thanksgiving blasphemy, but I really don’t like pumpkin pie. I think it is the consistency or the blah-ness of it. I know, I am weird.
Anyway, the perfect cover story is to just bring this delicious pumpkin praline cheesecake to any Thanksgiving dinner, so I don’t have to call attention to my horrible pumpkin pie distaste – or worse, be forced to choke down some pumpkin pie – yikes!
As I recall, the original recipe called for gingersnaps instead of chocolate wafer cookies, but I can’t stand ginger in baked goods (again, weird, I know), so I use chocolate wafer cookies! You could also use graham crackers, cinnamon graham crackers or chocolate graham crackers. I make the praline ahead of time, so prep is easier to manage. Of course, the cheesecake needs to chill, so that is prepared ahead, too. You know how sometimes cheesecake can crack on top? Well, the praline covers that up beautifully. (And if you have someone who is allergic to nuts, the praline can be added individually to other’s pieces and the person with allergies can still enjoy as the nuts are not baked into the dessert). A perfect for way to present an impressive dessert during busy holiday entertaining!
Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake Recipe
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Line a baking sheet with foil. Stir sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts and mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute without stirring. Mix in pecans, spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Bake in a 325°F oven until the sugar bubbles vigorously, about 8 minutes. Cool completely. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- 2 cups chocolate cookie wafers crumbs
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
Stir crumbs and cinnamon together with butter in a bowl. Press into and up the sides of a 9″ springform pan. Bake until set, about 8 minutes (at 325°F). Remove from oven to cool until ready to add filling.
- 4 blocks cream cheese (8 ounces each) (I often use 2 – 1/3 less fat and 2 full fat cream cheeses)
- 1- 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 4 large eggs
- 1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin or 2 cups pureed pumpkin
- 3 Tbsp. bourbon (I leave this out if I don’t have it on hand)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the pan with the crust in the roasting pan. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and smooth. Beat in flour and spices. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in pumpkin, bourbon and vanilla extract. Pour into crust (as you can tell from the photo – the pan will be FULL). Pour enough hot water to cover first inch of pan.
Bake at 325°F for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Add water as needed through baking to maintain the 1 inch around the pan. Cool on in the oven for a while with the door cracked, if you can, then finish cooling on a wire rack. Chill until ready to serve. Run a sharp knive around cake, remove springform.
Serve with praline piled on top in the middle. Be careful when moving the pan – the water and full pan, and all.