If you’ve ever tried to make a cheesecake, you know that there are a couple of places that it can go wrong: First up is LUMPS. No one likes to bite into a solid piece of cream cheese in their dessert. And the second issue is cracking. Over-baked cheesecake cracks in the center, leaving a not so presentable dessert.
To solve the lump problem, simply bring your cream cheese to room temperature (soft) before beginning to cream. NEVER ADD LIQUIDS to cream cheese until it is perfectly smooth. To achieve great results, cream the cream cheese until it it smooth, then add sugar(s) and continue to cream until there are no lumps. Then gradually add room temperature eggs to the mixture, scraping down the sides. Then you can add all other ingredients. If the mixture is smooth going into the pan, it will be smooth when baked.
To prevent cracking, bake your cheesecake in a hot water bath on low temperature. This is a gentler approach which allows the cake to bake slowly and unless you over-bake, you’ll have no cracks. To create a hot water bath, place your cheesecake pan in a larger deep pan. Fill with hot water at least 1/2 way up the sides.
One more thing: It’s not necessary to use a spring form pan, in fact, I NEVER use a spring form pan and have a beautiful cheesecake every time. Just use parchment circle on the bottom of any 3″ deep cake pan. After baking and chilling, warm the pan on a burner for a few seconds, run a knife around the edges to release. Flip the cheesecake over onto a flat plate, remove the parchment paper and flip over onto a serving platter. Don’t worry, if the cake is cold, and baked properly, it will flip over easily without breaking or cracking.
I use my gingersnap cookies as the crust, but you can use store -bought cookies or graham crackers. The ginger in the cookies is a better compliment to the pumpkin, though. This makes a large 10″ round Cheesecake.
Beat until creamy:
3# (6-8 oz.pkgs) Cream Cheese
Slowly add and Beat until NO LUMPS REMAIN:
1 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
6 Eggs, whole, room temp.
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Stir in and mix until well incorporated:
1-1/2 cups Pumpkin, solid not pie mix
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
Prepare a 10″ round, 3″ deep pan with parchment paper. Press gingersnap crumbs firmly onto the bottom only of the pan. Pour batter in the pan. Place this pan in a HOT WATER BATH and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool. Refrigerate overnight before removing from the pan. Garnish with fresh whipped cream.