PREP: 1. Remove cream cheese, eggs, and cream from the refrigerator to come to room temperature. FOR THE CRUST: 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9 inch spring form pan (a 9 inch square pan, round cake pan, or large pie pan also work, watch that you don't overfill them, you may have extra filling if using an alternate pan). 2. Using a food processor, blend crackers, sugar, and spices until finely ground. (or place them in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin.) 3. Melt butter in microwave or a small saucepan. Combine with crumb mixture and mix thoroughly. 4. Pour crumbs into prepared pan and flatten/press into place using your finger tips or the flat bottom of a glass. Bake until the edges begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. FOR THE FILLING: 1. Boil about 16 cups of water. (this is for the water bath, this helps the cheesecake bake evenly and prevents cracking but is technically optional) 2. Dry the pumpkin puree by placing several layers of paper towels on a baking sheet and spreading the puree over them. Then cover the puree with another several layers of paper towels and press until the towels have soaked up as much liquid as possible. Discard the top layer of paper towel and then fold the puree in half and half again to remove the bottom paper towels. 3. Combine sugar, spices, and salt. 4. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until softened, about 1 minute. Slowly add in the sugar mixture, scrapping the bowl between each addition. 5. Beat in the pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice at medium speed for just under a minute. Beat in three eggs at medium low speed for one minute, add the second two eggs and beat until just incorporated scrapping the bowl in between. 6. Add heavy cream and beat again until incorporated. Scrape bowl and stir a few more times by hand to ensure it's well mixed. BAKING: 6. Wrap the cooled crust pan in a double layer of aluminum foil and set in a baking pan large enough that it sits flat. (if you don't have a pan big enough for it to sit in you can also place the water in a baking dish on the rack below the cheesecake, it will crack more, but still taste great) 7. Pour the filling into the crust. 8. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until if reaches about 1/2 way up the sides the cheesecake (if using the water bath). 9. Bake for about 90 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake still jiggles, but just slightly, when the pan is shaken. 10. Remove from oven and let cool (still in the water bath) for about 45 minutes. Remove from water bath and let cool completely before refrigerating for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
This cheesecake is a slightly more complicated recipe than we usually recommend, but OMG is it good! Seriously the most tender and flavorful cheesecake we've ever made. (We'll admit to slightly over cooking the one the day the photographer was here so the photos don't do this cheesecake justice!) If you're in a hurry you can technically skip both the water bath and drying out the pumpkin puree but we highly recommend giving it a try. Neither are really that hard and they make a huge difference. If you don't dry the puree, be sure to reduce the heavy cream to 3/4 cup. If you're making your own pumpkin puree for this we'd suggest cutting the pieces rather small before roasting and roasting them skin side down in order to dry out the pumpkin as much as possible before pureeing it. Check out our Homemade Pumpkin Puree recipe here - https://www.gatheredtable.com/recipes/702824