Pumpkin Cheesecake


Bon Appétit | November 2011
by Karen DeMasco
This delicate cheesecake is cooked in a water bath and steamed for a supremely light texture. To make sure the homemade-gingersnap-cookie crust stays crisp, wrap the cake pan inside and out with heavy-duty, 18"-wide aluminum foil.
Yield: Makes 8 servings

Gingersnap cookie crust:

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided, plus more for foil
1 large egg
2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

2 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon mascarpone
1/3 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cup canned pure pumpkin purée
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Special equipment: A 9"-diameter springform pan; 18"-wide heavy-duty foil

For gingersnap cookie crust:

Whisk 1 cup all-purpose flour, baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and 6 tablespoons butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg, molasses, and ginger. With mixer on low speed, gradually add dry ingredients, beating just to blend. Form dough into a ball; flatten into a disk.

Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons and divide between prepared baking sheets, spacing 2" apart.

Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cookies are deep golden-brown, about 15 minutes. Let cookies cool on a wire rack.

Finely grind cookies in a food processor. Measure 1 3/4 cups crumbs for crust; reserve any remaining crumbs for another use. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. Store crumbs airtight in freezer. Return to room temperature before using.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line springform pan tightly with foil. Butter foil. Wrap outside of pan tightly with foil (to create a watertight seal during baking), pressing wrinkles flat.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan. Whisk reserved 1 3/4 cups gingersnap crumbs, remaining 1 tablespoon flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir mixture until well combined. Press crumbs into bottom of prepared pan. Freeze for 10 minutes.

Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake until crust is fragrant and set, 20-25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool.

For filling:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Purée ricotta, mascarpone, sugar, egg yolks, 1 egg, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth. Scrape most of ricotta filling into a large bowl, leaving about 1/2 cup of filling in processor. Add remaining egg, pumpkin purée, brown sugar, cream, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to processor; purée until smooth. Scrape pumpkin filling into a medium bowl. Pour ricotta filling over cooled crust. Spoon pumpkin filling over. Using a spoon, gently swirl the 2 fillings in 6-7 places.

Put cake pan in a large roasting pan. Add hot water to come halfway up sides of cake pan. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil.

Bake cake for 1 hour. Open foil carefully to release steam. Reseal foil and continue baking, opening foil to release steam every 15 minutes, until cheesecake is set around the edges and jiggles slightly in the center when nudged, 45 minutes–1 hour longer.

Remove cake pan from roasting pan. Carefully unwrap outer foil from pan. Chill cake at least 6 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled. Run a thin knife around inside of pan to release cake. Remove pan sides.