Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 7h 50m
  • Rating ****

Serves 10

Silky rich and deliciously creamy, this festive cheesecake with its crunchy walnut brittle topping is a delicious make-ahead dessert to serve during the holidays. Pastry chef Jennifer Flannagan devised this delightful cheesecake with its candylike topping.


  • For the Crust:
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup gingersnap crumbs
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg white, well beaten
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • For the Topping:
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Position a second rack directly below it.


In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker and gingersnap crumbs, sugar, and ginger. Stir in the melted butter. Firmly press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Brush the crust lightly with the egg white and chill for at least 15 minutes before filling and baking.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, and brown and granulated sugars, using an electric mixer, until smooth. Gently beat in the egg yolks, then the pumpkin puree, vanilla, cornstarch, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, with a whisk or an electric mixer, until stiff peaks are formed. Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture.

Pour the filling into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Set an 8-inch-square baking pan filled halfway with hot water on the rack below the cheesecake (this helps prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking). Bake until the center does not tremble when the cake is gently shaken, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for several minutes. Place a rack 4 to 5 inches from the heat source of a broiler. Preheat the broiler.


in a small bowl, combine the walnuts, ginger, and sugar. Add the butter and mix together with a fork or clean fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle over the warm cheesecake and place in the broiler to melt the sugar and caramelize the topping, 30 to 40 seconds. Watch carefully so that the topping does not burn.

Remove the cheesecake from the broiler and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or as long as overnight. When it is chilled, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and remove the pan rim. Set the cheesecake on a serving plate without removing the pan bottom.

Note: To toast walnuts, spread shelled nuts in a shallow pan. Toast in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.

RecID 1622

nutrition information per serving

559 calories; 36g total fat; 162mg cholesterol; 271mg sodium; 53g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 9g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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