This salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake with ginger snap crust is a wonderful holiday dessert. It will make your house smell like the holidays!
We had Thanksgiving at my parents’ house this year. My brother and his family came over to celebrate together. It was a fairly small gathering, with just my parents, my brother’s family and mine. Addie had a blast playing with her two cousins, and we could have watched them run around all day.
My brother and I decided to handle all of the food this year. Let’s be honest here – my brother and my sister-in-law did most of the heavy lifting since they were willing and able and also lived nearby. My husband volunteered to make green bean casserole and I of course volunteered to make a dessert.
My sister-in-law made a beautiful tiramisu from scratch, and I complemented that with a pumpkin cheesecake. See, there’s this thing about cheesecake in my family. It’s always well received, and certain family members (*cough* Dad) have been known to eat it for breakfast. In fact, before I got bitten by the baking bug, my dad used to buy frozen cheesecakes from the grocery store and eat slices of that for breakfast.
This year I opted to make a pumpkin cheesecake based on a suggestion from my husband. He said that he normally didn’t like pumpkin cheesecakes but wanted one this year. I made this with a ginger snap crust for an even spicier version of what we’ve made before. And the homemade salted caramel sauce was definitely a hit and a must-have accompaniment to the cheesecake.
Everyone, including my 8 year old, loved the cheesecake. Mine poofed up in the oven and collapsed a bit as it cooled (probably because I didn’t actually use a water bath). But despite its cosmetic flaws, it tasted wonderful. With the spicy crust and smooth, rich filling, it was definitely a hit. I think the salted caramel sauce was the highlight of the dessert, but maybe that’s just me. And I’m pretty sure my dad had a slice of this for breakfast the next day, but he’s not telling.
Salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake with ginger snap crust
- 7 and 1/2 ounces gingersnaps or 1 and 1/2 cups finely ground gingersnap crumbs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 15- ounce can pumpkin
- 1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy cream cold
- 1 and 1/2 pounds (3, 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
- 5 large eggs room temperature
Salted Caramel sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt or more if you like it extra salty
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the crust:
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Wrap a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with heavy duty aluminum foil (you may want to double up on the foil to prevent any leaks). Make sure the foil goes all the way up the sides of the pan so no water can leak into the pan. In a food processor or high powered blender, pulse the ginger snaps and sugar until you get fine crumbs. Remove the crumbs from the food processor and transfer to a small bowl and add the melted butter. Mix well until everything looks like wet sand. Transfer the crumbs into your prepared springform pan and press it into an even layer. Bake in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow the crust to cool while you prepare the filing.
Make the filling
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Continue heating and stirring until the mixture starts to bubble. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for about another 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick. Then transfer to your food processor and pulse for 1 minute.
- While the food processor is still running, add the cold heavy cream. Then add the cream cheese. Stop and scrape the sides if needed. Add the eggs, and pulse for about 5 more seconds (do not over mix this).
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust and shake the pan so the top is free of lumps. Place the springform pan into a large roasting pan filled with boiling water (just enough to hit the top of the aluminum foil). Bake for about 90 minutes or until the cheesecake is set. The top should not be jiggly. Crack open the oven but leave the cake in the oven for another 1-2 hours.
- Remove the cake from the oven and dump out the water. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature, then cover and cool in the refrigerator overnight. Once the cheesecake is cool, slice and serve with caramel sauce.
Make the sauce:
- Mix the sugar and water together in a deep, heavy bottomed sauce pan.
- Turn the heat to medium high and allow the sugar to melt. Do not stir (it’s hard, but please resist).
- While the sugar is melting, heat the heavy cream in the microwave until it is almost boiling.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to high. The sugar mixture will turn a deep amber color. Watch the sugar carefully, as it will burn easily if you look away for a moment. Feel free to swirl the sauce pan around to allow the sugar to evenly caramelize.
- After your sugar has turned a deep amber color, take it off the heat and add in the warmed heavy cream. Watch out – it will bubble vigorously! Then add the butter, salt and vanilla. Whisk until the caramel thickens and is smooth.
- Transfer the caramel into a glass container and store at room temperature. It will keep for several weeks.