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Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

October 13, 2011

On Tuesday, I headed back into the real world.  That’s right.  I got a job! I started work at an ad agency, and I’m very excited.  But heading back to a 9 to 5 (or let’s be honest, 8:30-7) means I needed to get my act together during the long weekend.  All that laundry I haven’t done in a couple weeks?.  A thorough cleaning of my kitchen?.  And one major baking accomplishment?  Well one of these got done….. and it wasn’t either of the first two.

Ever since I was little,I have loved cheesecake, but I’ve never made one.  I have memories of my mom buying a pumpkin cheesecake from our local grocery store and thinking it was pretty much the best thing I’d ever tasted. We didn’t get cheesecake very often, which now makes it feel like an indulgence only appropriate for a special occasion.

Monday night was a special occasion.  My friend Jen (remember her?) is back in town for a week, so we gathered at her brother and sister-in-law’s apartment for dinner.  In celebration of this event, I decided to make a pumpkin cheesecake, but with ONE MORE of my favorite things.  BOURBON.  Honestly, I’m not sure how this recipe could ever go wrong.  I used the amount of bourbon the recipe called for, and it was very subtle.  No one even noticed it – which was probably good since I’m the only one that likes it. To give it a little extra fall flavor, I switched out the graham crackers for ginger snaps.  That little bit of spice from the ginger helped to balance the sweetness of the filling.

The cheesecake went over really well, and I plan on making it for my family at Christmas (you’re welcome, family).


For crust
3/4 cup gingersnap crumbs (from about 25 cookies)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounce), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)

Garnish: pecan halves

Make crust: Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

In a food processor, pulse together cookies and pecans until reduced to crumbs.  Add sugar and butter and pulse until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust in refrigerator, 1 hour.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and bourbon in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a separate bowl.

Add cream cheese to dry ingredients and beat with a hand mixer at high speed until creamy. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan in case springform leaks. Bake until center is set. Filling should jiggle just slightly.  Think Jell-O. Transfer cake to rack and cool 5 minutes. Do not turn your oven off.

Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and bourbon in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake for 5 more minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack (should take 2-3 hours)

Cover and chill in your refrigerator until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Janet permalink
    October 13, 2011 2:15 am

    This looks so amazing…a perfect combination of all my favorite things (pumpkin, bourbon, ginger snaps). Can’t wait to try this recipe…thank you!

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