Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake

Do I need to say more. . . okay, I will, this is absolutely heavenly.  The best cheesecake I have ever had, hands down. Forget pumpkin pie, this creamy, slightly spiced pumpkin cheesecake will be the new standard at Thanksgiving desserts everywhere.  Once you try it you will be sold!

The great thing about this cheesecake as it only gets better with age, so make it  a head of time, how great is that when you are planning for Thanksgiving?  One less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving day. Just keep it in the fridge for up to four days and forget about it until you are ready to eat.  I made this three days in advance and it was perfect.

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake
Yields: 12 slices
Time: 20 minutes prep + 1 hour bake time + 12 hours or more in the fridge

2 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (about 45-50 small cookies)
1/2 cup ground pecans
8 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

6 ounces white chocolate ( or 1 cup chocolate chips)
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Whipped Topping (I used cool whip)
Caramel sauce (I used heresy's ice cream topping)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

To make crust, crush the gingersnaps using a food processor or you can place them in a sealed bag and crush them with a rolling pin.  Combine all the crust ingredients well.  Evenly place the crumbs on the bottom and about 1-2 inches up the side of a lightly greased 9 inch spring-form pan. Place the crust in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add pumpkin, vanilla, and spices and mix well.  

Melt you white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30-second intervals, stirring between, until smooth.

While the mixer is running in your pumpkin mixture slowly drizzle the white chocolate in a steady stream.  Pour mixture into the pie crust.

Place the cheesecake on the top rack of your oven. Place a 9 X 13 pan filled with two cups hot water on the bottom rack.  This will give it a nice steam bath as it cooks.

Bake for 60-75 minutes or until set. The center will be slightly jiggly and the top should be golden brown.  Remove from oven and place on a rack until completely cool.  Then refrigerate for at least 12 hours or  up to four days.

When ready to serve pour caramel over the middle of the cheesecake, spreading to the edges.  Then pipe on your whipped topping and serve.  Yummy!

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