pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust and toasted meringue recipe from the farmer’s daughter bakes
this beautiful center-piece worthy cake is creamy and rich, silky smooth and full of pumpkin and spice, and is surprisingly easy to make. the pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust and toasted meringue is a show stopper that’s perfect for all the holiday dinners and parties coming up! this recipe comes from kelsey siemens‘ beautiful cookbook, the farmer’s daughter bakes. kelsey’s cookbook came out last fall and was the number one book on my wish list– and for good reason too! kelsey not only developed and wrote every single recipe in her book, but she styled and photographed everything herself as well. the recipes are spread out and chaptered by the different seasons and the beautiful fruit and produce that capture that particular time of year. the book encapsulates a sense of whimsical magic that can only be found in nature– something i feel that mirrors kelsey’s own personality and character!
how to make this recipe
make the crust. every good cheesecake starts with a good crust. this recipe uses gingersnap cookies for the crust and it goes so well with the pumpkin and spice flavors in the cake! pulse the cookies in a food processor until we get fine cookie crumbs. then, combine this with melted butter and salt, and press it into the bottom of a springform pan before baking it for about 10 minutes.
make the pumpkin cheesecake filling. first, beat together cream cheese and sugar until it’s smooth. then, we add pumpkin puree, vanilla, flour, cinnamon, and all-spice. to that, we slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as we go, we beat everything together until smooth, and that’s it! the filling is poured on top of the baked crust and baked at 260 degrees F for about an hour. kelsey is an absolute genius for this. baking with this low temp means NO WATER BATH! YAY! cool the cake in the turned off oven for about 20 minutes to prevent cracking. then we chill the cake in the fridge for several hours or overnight until we’re ready to serve!
make the meringue topping. meringue might seem intimidating if you’ve never made it before, but it’s extremely simple if you follow the steps closely. to the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and sugar together, set over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler, and slowly heat and mix the egg whites until it reaches 160 degrees F, and is no longer grainy when you rub it between your fingers. with the whisk attachment on the stand mixer, whisk the egg whites, gradually increasing the speed, for about 7-10 minutes, until we end up with glossy, stiff peaks!
putting everything together. when the cake is completely chilled and we’re ready to serve, pile the meringue on top of the cake, spread it out a bit, and torch the surface until it’s nicely toasted and browned. to cut neat slice, use a warm dry knife and wipe off between every cut.
rich and creamy, silky and spicy, this pumpkin cheesecake is such a showstopper and surprisingly easy to make! plain cheesecake who?! this recipe comes from kelsey siemens' cookbook, the farmer's daughter bakes.
- 2 c (336g) crushed gingersnap cookies
- 6 tbsp (84g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 cups (464g, 2 packages) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 c (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 c (245g) pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp (16g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground all-spice
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature (reserve white to use for meringue)
- 1/2 c (120ml) egg whites (from about 4 eggs)
- 1 c (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
prepare the crust
- preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- (optional) line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- pulse gingersnap cookies in a food processor until it becomes a fine crumb. in a medium bowl, combine crushed cookies, melted butter, and salt.
- pour crumb mixture into the springform pan, spread out evenly and press the crumb together with the flat of your hand or the bottom of a glass cup.
- bake for 8-10 minutes and then set aside.
prepare cheesecake filling
- lower oven temp to 260 degrees F.
- in a large bowl, using a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) or hand held electric mixer, beat cream cheese for a minute until smooth. add sugar, and beat until combined and smooth, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.
- add pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, flour, cinnamon, and all-spice to the cream cheese mixture and beat together until well combined.
- with the mixer on low, add eggs and yolk one at a time until well combined, without over mixing batter.
- scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is well combined.
- pour filling into the pan on top of the crust. holding the edges of the pan, slam it down on the counter a few times to bring any air bubbles to the surface and pop any big bubbles.
- bake for 55-60 minutes. turn oven heat off, crack open the oven door, and let the cheesecake cool in oven for 15-20 minutes.
- remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for about 2 hours, until cool enough to place in fridge to chill, covered with foil. (i always make this at least a day before i serve it). chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
prepare the swiss meringue
- when ready to serve the cake, prepare the meringue.
- in a small to medium saucepan, bring an inch or two of water to a low simmer, keeping over low heat.
- in a large heat-safe bowl or stand mixer bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg whites. place entire bowl on top of the simmering water (creating a double boiler), making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
- constantly whisk the egg whites for about 7-10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F and is not grainy when rubbed between your fingers.
- remove from heat and using the stand mixer with a whisk attachment or hand held electric mixer, beat on medium speed for a few minutes, gradually increasing speed to high, until glossy, stiff peaks. beat in vanilla extract.
assembling the pumpkin cheesecake
- remove fully chilled cheesecake from fridge. run a warm dry knife around the edge of the cake and remove the springform pan wall. (my pan is non stick and i've never had to run a knife around it)
- pile the meringue on top of the middle of the cake and with an offset spatula or back of a spoon, smooth it out a bit and torch the surface with a kitchen torch until browned.
- alternatively, this cheesecake can be served with whipped cream.
- serve right away and store leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge. it will last up to 3 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. the meringue might weep a bit after the first day.