Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake is the perfect alternative to Pumpkin Pie for your Thanksgiving dinner! It's simpler to make than a pie, but still makes for a show stopping dessert. Top it with fresh whipped cream & salted caramel sauce, and prepare to fall in love with this decadent dessert!
Keyword Easy Thanksgiving Desserts, Easy Cheesecake Recipe, No Water Bath Cheesecake, Pumpkin Pie Alternative Desserts
Prep Time 40minutes
Cook Time 1hour55minutes
Cooling Time 6hours
Author Stephanie Simmons
For the Gingersnap Crust
1/3cupsalted butter, melted
2TBSPgranulated or cane sugar
For the Cheesecake
four8 ouncepackages cream cheesethe block kind, full fat, 32 ounces total
Prep: Make sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temp - set them out 15 minutes before you begin. If they're too cold the batter can clump and the cheesecake won't turn out. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (yes, 300 not 350!). Crush the gingersnaps in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and make sure the bottom is tightly secured.
Make the Crust: Stir together cookie crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Press into the pan and up the sides a bit. Bake for 9 minutes. Set aside.
Make the Cheesecake: It's important not to over-mix the batter - this will result in a cheesecake that collapses a bit when it's out of the oven and cooling. Mix things until they're just incorporated, then stop! In a large mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese with electric mixer just until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and mix until just combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined after each one, adding the vanilla in with the last egg. Spoon 2 cups of the mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the pumpkin and spices. Spoon the batter, alternating between the plain and pumpkin, into the baked crust. Take a knife and gently swirl the batter - drag from top to bottom and left to right, sticking the knife down into the batter so that the swirls show throughout the cheesecake, not just on top.
Bake: Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes to 1 hour 56 minutes. (Mine took the full 1 hour and 56 minutes). Try to open the oven as few times as possible to minimize the cracking on top of the cheesecake. If it does crack, DO NOT WORRY. It won't ruin the cheesecake and you can hide it with whipped cream. When done, the edges will be slightly raised and set, and the center will be only slightly jiggly. A small amount of batter will be on a toothpick inserted into the center of the cheesecake. Once done baking, turn the oven off, and open the door at least 4 inches. Leave cheesecake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set on a cooling rack. Run a butter knife around the edge to gently loosen cheesecake, but do not release the springform pan yet. Once completely cool, cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight.
Serve + Store: The next morning, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Use a large spatula or pancake flipper to gently slide the cheesecake off the bottom piece and onto a serving plate. Make the whipped cream, and the caramel sauce to serve with the cheesecake. Store leftovers, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Make Ahead Tips: This makes a great make-ahead dessert because the cheesecake has to chill for 5 hours in the fridge anyways. The caramel sauce can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept in the fridge until ready to use. Microwave at 20 second intervals to loosen the sauce back up when ready to serve. Do NOT make the whipped cream ahead of time - it can get a little funky. Make it just before serving, or at least the day of, no more than 4-6 hours ahead.
Whipped Cream: Make sure the heavy cream is VERY COLD, straight from the fridge, before you begin. If it isn't cold, it won't whip up. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form when you turn the mixer off and lift it straight out of the bowl. DO NOT keep mixing at this point - over-mixing will ruin the whipped cream. Store in the fridge, tightly covered, until ready to use. If you've had issues with whipped cream in the past, you can chill your beaters and the bowl in the fridge before using.