Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Last Sunday was Christmas, but before then I drove home...well before driving home, I drove to Columbia, NC.  If you are from North Carolina or have ever lived there, you might be going where the heck is Columbia, NC.  No, I promise this is not a typo...Columbia is approximately 90 minutes East of Greenville and about 45 minutes West of Manteo along a stretch of NC State Highway 64 I have never seen. 

On the trip from DC, I made a few pit stops, even one where I bumped into a male state trooper coming out of the women's bathroom.  Said State Trooper also immediately pulled someone over as soon as he pulled out of the gas station.  Also, if you are in Columbia and looking for something to do I would suggest heading to Manteo.  If you drive from Columbia to Manteo you will cross Alligator River, which looks more like a lake because its huge, then you will pass Buffalo City and another huge bridge which drops you in Manteo(if we had kept on driving down 64 we would have almost made it to Nags Head).  Trust me...I am not making this up.  Okay so we went, I saw, it was cute, but I would definitely recommend visiting in the spring, summer or fall...maybe not winter.

So, the next morning I headed home and made this cheesecake for my mom's birthday.  Let me tell you about all starts with a gingersnap crust and then ends with pumpkin swirl cheesy deliciousness. Trust me if you like cheesecake and you like pumpkin, this will be right up your alley and it is actually very easy to make. 

Gingersnaps all crushed up with the help of a cutting board and heavy rolling pin.

Pumpkin and spices.

Ready for the oven. 

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake: (adapted from Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Cheesecake)
For the Crust
15-20 gingersnaps, crushed (I put the gingersnaps in a Ziploc bag and then on a cutting board, broke them up with a wooden rolling pin)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling
4-8 ounce packages 1/3 fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.

2.  In a small mixing bowl, using a fork, combine crushed gingersnaps, sugar and butter until butter is mixed in with all gingersnaps.

3.  Press gingersnap mixture into springform pan until it is evenly packed down.   Bake for 10-12 minutes.

4.  In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer starting on low speed and moving to high, mix cream cheese until light and fluffy.

5.  Mix in sugar, flour, vanilla extract and salt until well combined.  Mix in eggs, one egg at a time until just combined.

6.  In a separate mixing, whisk together pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. 

7.  Whisk all but 3 cups of the cheesecake batter mixture in to the pumpkin mixture just until combined.  Pour mixture into cheesecake pan.

8.  Carefully spoon the remaining cheesecake batter on top of the pumpkin cheesecake batter, and smooth with the back of the spoon. Run a knife through the top layer, reaching down to the pumpkin layer to create swirled effect. 

9.  Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet, transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake  for 45 minutes with out opening the door to check.  Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).  This should help prevent some cracking...this clearly did not work for me.

10.  Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving. Enjoy!

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