Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is the second year I’ve baked this cheesecake for our family Thanksgiving dinner. Last year it was such a hit, Jeff had to hide a piece for me so I would have a chance to taste it! We have big family gatherings, so I find it’s a nice balance to the apple pie I also make, giving people more choices – cheesecake or pie, while still allowing them to get their annual pumpkin fix.

This version of pumpkin cheesecake is straight from Nigella Lawson’s Feast. I love that it doesn’t call for any spices at all. That may seem boring if you’re used to adding ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to your pumpkin recipes, but trust me – the simplicity of pumpkin, cream cheese, sugar, eggs and lemon juice is perfect here.

My family didn’t grow up on pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and they tend look rather askance at anything made with  pumpkin in general, so it’s a great testament to this cheesecake that it disappears so quickly.

Cheesecake Base
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, softened and cut into pieces

The Filling
15 ounces of unseasoned pumpkin purée
1 ½ lbs cream cheese (3 packets, each 250 grams)
1 cup sugar
6 eggs
juice of ½ lemon

Cheesecake Base
Place graham cracker crumbs in a food processor, adding the butter pieces, processing until combined. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and put in fridge while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 325˚F

The Filling
Combine the cream cheese and pumpkin in the food processor. When blended, add the sugar. While the processor is running, add the eggs one by one and finally the lemon juice, stopping the processor from time to time to scrape down the mixture.

Wrap the outside of the springform pan with plastic wrap to make sure that the pan is completely waterproof, and then cover this with heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the foil covered pan in a roasting pan.

Pour the filling into the pan, and then fill the roasting pan with hot water about halfway up the springform pan.

Bake for 1 ¾ hours. Place on cooling rack and remove foil. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Notes: The smallest can of pumpkin I could find was 796 ml. I used my kitchen scale to weigh out 15 ounces.

It may seem weird to wrap the pan in plastic wrap, but the foil protects it and it doesn’t melt.

Source: Feast, by Nigella Lawson