I’ve always loved the pumpkin cheesecakes from Costco, but I decided I would enjoy it much more if I made it from scratch. In my pumpkin cheesecake recipe search I found a Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake that was originally published in Gourmet Magazine in 1990. Side note – did you know that Gourmet has recently been canceled?!? Well, this Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake had such an overwhelmingly positive response, that Gourmet has re-published it in numerous issues since 1990. Since I was bringing this to a meeting with lots of pregnant women I decided to omit the alcohol. I personally wasn’t concerned by the amount, especially after baking, but still I didn’t want to worry anyone. I will definitely be adding it the next time though. This recipe turned out great, and I loved the flavor of the brown sugar and pecans in the crust, but it did stay a bit too wet and tended to fall apart. I think this recipe calls for too much butter in the crust, so next time I will leave out a tablespoon or so. Some of the reviews I read said that they left off the sour cream topping because they thought it would be too rich that way. It really has the opposite effect though – the tangyness of the sour cream cuts the richness of the middle.
pumpkin cheesecake

12 to 14 servings
For crust

  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
  • 1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling

  • 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping

  • 2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
  • Garnish: pecan halves

Make crust:
Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping:
Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.

*Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.