This Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Pie Topping features a gingersnap crust, pumpkin spice flavored filling, and a gooey, pecan pie like topping.
After I published the recipe for my Double Crust Cheesecake a while back, a visitor to the blog left a comment asking about turning the cheesecake base into a pumpkin cheesecake. The idea sounded utterly delicious, so I immediately got to work!
After some serious testing, I present to you my pumpkin cheesecake recipe… Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Pie Topping. But this isn’t some basic ol’ pumpkin cheesecake with some pumpkin pie spice thrown in. No, ma’am!
I swapped the basic graham cracker crust for one made with gingersnap cookies. Oh, yes I did. And then, I topped that cheesecake with a caramel pecan topping reminiscent of the rich, gooey filling in pecan pie. Mercy!
Gingersnap cookies – There are all kinds of gingersnaps out there. From the super thin and crispy, to the thicker, chewier version. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need about 2 cups of crushed cookies. For testing, I used these.
Cream cheese – Go for the full fat. It’s dessert, not health food. And, make sure to get it to room temp before mixing so it incorporates smoothly with the other ingredients.
Pumpkin puree – You’ll need a 15-ounce can of plain pumpkin puree. Don’t use pumpkin pie filling. Really any brand of pumpkin puree will do.
Eggs – 4 large ones. Again, make sure they’re room temperature as they’ll mix in easier.
Corn syrup – This is going to help prevent your caramel topping from crystallizing and is going to give you more of that pecan pie flavor and texture. Either light or dark corn syrup will work.
Pecans – You’ll need 2 cups of coarsely chopped pecans. I like to use the large pecan pieces from Priester’s Pecans.
How to prevent cheesecake and pie crust cracks
There are many things I love about this recipe, but one of my most favorite parts is that it truly doesn’t matter if your cheesecake or pie crust cracks. No one will ever know! This delicious pumpkin cheesecake is topped with lots of chopped pecans and a caramel sauce that truly covers all flaws. So, even if you want to impress your Thanksgiving guests, the cracks truly won’t matter because they will never be seen.
However, if you are absolutely insistent on preventing all cracks, here are two methods you can use:
- Use a water bath – Scroll back up and read my notes about the whole water bath thing. I’ve used water baths in the past and still had cracks, but the additional moisture in the oven that is created and the slower cooking process does help some.
- Avoid sudden changes in baking temperature – Often times, cracks in the cheesecake occur when there is a sudden change in temperature. Two ways to avoid this happening are to allow your cheesecake to cool in the oven and avoid opening the oven door during baking. If you need a sneak peek, just turn on your oven light! Do not open the oven door during baking. And when your baking time is over, turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and leave your cheesecake to cool off in the oven for an hour.
Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Pie Topping
For the crust:
- 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
- 4 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 (15-ounce) can plain pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
For the topping:
- 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup (light or dark)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch spring-form pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the crushed gingersnap cookies and butter. Stir well. Pour the mixture evenly into the bottom of the spring-form pan and press firmly to create a crust across the bottom and partially up the sides.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a bowl and hand mixer) beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, and brown sugar and mix until well combined. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice and mix to combine.
- Pour the batter onto the crust. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to get out any air bubbles.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center still has a little jiggle to it. Turn off the heat, crack open the door to the oven, and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely, then remove the outer ring of the springform. Refrigerate overnight to allow the cheesecake to firm up before serving (or at least 3 hours for those impatient folks).
- To make the topping, preheat the oven to 325°F and spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake them for 7 to 10 minutes or until just fragrant. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and heavy cream. Cook until bubbly, then stir in the toasted pecans, salt, and vanilla. Cool to room temperature and thick before pouring over the cooled cheesecake. Store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Allow to come to room temperature for serving.
* If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. The values do not include optional ingredients or when ingredients are added to taste. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.