Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

By Melanie Underwood | October 20, 2015
This is the perfect holiday cheesecake, and any type of squash, sweet potato, or yam can be substituted for the pumpkin; my personal favorites are butternut squash and sweet potato. If you prefer a coarser texture, do not purée the ricotta.


  • Cookie Crust made with gingersnaps (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) ricotta
  • 1 pound (454 g) cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces, or 420 g) pumpkin purée
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Whipped Cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC, or gas mark 4). Follow the instructions below for the ginger snap cookie crust.

To make the cheesecake: Lower the oven to 325oF (170oC, or gas mark 3). Place the ricotta in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the ricotta and cream cheese on low speed until softened, scraping down the sides of the bowl, underneath the paddle, and the paddle frequently with a rubber spatula, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and continue mixing on low and scraping down the sides, bottom, and paddle until there are no visible lumps. Add the pumpkin puree and mix just until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix just until combined, about 10 seconds after each egg. Stir in the cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, and cloves.

Prepare the springform pan for a water bath. Place the springform pan in a large cake pan or a roasting pan (one that is around the same height or lower than your springform pan). Pour the batter over the crust and level it with a small offset spatula. Place in the oven and pour almost boiling water into the roasting pan (it should come up halfway around the sides of the pan). Bake for about 1 hour 45 minutes, until the cheesecake is firm around the edges, but still jiggly in the center (the jiggly part should be about the size of a quarter).

Remove from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Remove the foil from the sides of the pan. Gently run a small sharp knife or small spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the cheesecake from the sides. Allow to cool at room temperature. Place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (this will help the cheesecake set completely).

To unmold the cheesecake, gently run a small sharp knife or small spatula around the edges of the pan. Release the latch on the side of the pan and then lift the ring straight up. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To garnish: When ready to serve, plate each slice individually and top with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of ground cinnamon.

Yield: One 10-inch (25 cm) cheesecake

Bottom-Only Cookie Crust

1 3/4 cups (205 g) finely ground cookie crumbs (about 32 gingersnaps)
2 tablespoons (26 g) sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC, or gas mark 4). In a medium bowl, combine the ground cookies and sugar. Add the butter and stir with a rubber spatula to combine, making sure all the butter is absorbed and the crumbs or nuts are evenly coated. 

Place the mixture in a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan. Using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass, press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. For a bottom-and-sides crust, use the sides of a glass to press about half of the mixture into the sides of the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, about 10 minutes.

Excerpted from Making Artisan Cheesecake (Quarry Books, 2015)



  • spiced pumpkin cheesecake