Every family has their favorite holiday traditions, from decor they put out to activities they partake in. These traditions are what make the holidays special and memorable, year after year. Being the nostalgic I am, this is my favorite aspect of the holidays and what I truly look forward to as the season gets close. For my family, our most continued traditions are in food. We love to eat! Now, each year there is always something new on the table, but there are some staples that will always stay the same. At Thanksgiving, my GG always makes her dressing, my mom her sweet potato casserole and I try out a new cranberry recipe each year. But, perhaps the most special of these would be my Grammy and I making our pumpkin cheesecake. Now, I must preface this by saying is not originally a family recipe, but one she found in the newspaper. However, we have tweaked some things throughout the years and made it our own. She and I have been making this together every Thanksgiving for the past 14 years. It has gone from her doing most of the work and me being the assistant to now me doing the bulk of things and her being here for conversation and company. We’ve also gone from a hand mixer (only did that once-terrible idea, don’t try it) to a not so great standing mixer and now this year we’ve got a KitchenAid (thanks for the bridal shower present mom!). It is an evolving process, but one thing always remains the same and that is us doing it together. It is a tradition that I will always hold dear to my heart and hope to one day pass down to my children and grandchildren. Okay, enough of all the memory talk! Many family recipes are great big secrets, but what’s the point in that?! I’m so happy to share this recipe with y’all today and hope to maybe add a new tradition or at least a new dessert on your table this year!
Photos: Catherine Ann Photography
Grammy’s Pumpkin Cheesecake
For the Crumb Crust:
1 cup graham-cracker crumbs (i use a little over a cup)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
For the Pumpkin Filling:
2 packages cream cheese (8 0z each) softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 can solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
For the Nut Topping:
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (the expensive, organic kind yes)
1 cup chopped walnuts
** You will need a 9×3 springform pan and a roasting pan for water bath
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a small bowl, with a fork, stir crumbs, melted butter and sugar until moistened.
3. Pour mixture in springform pan and press with fingertips to bottom of pan.
4. Tightly wrap the outside of pan with heavy-duty foil (read: wrap a couple of layers with normal aluminum foil) This prevents leakage when baking in the water bath later.
5. Bake crust 10 minutes and set aside to cool completely.
1. In large mixing bowl (again, this recipe really requires a standing mixer, or two people if you must use a hand mixer) Set your mixer on Medium speed and beat the cream cheese until smooth. Using SOFTENED cream cheese it THE most important aspect of this recipe. You’ll notice in my pictures you can see a few spots of cream cheese, that’s because I didn’t have it soft enough when I started (rookie mistake). If possible, leave it out overnight to make the next morning, but it needs at least 2 or 3 hours on the counter.
2. Once smooth, slowly beat in sugar until blended. This will take about 1 minute and you’ll need to stop and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula throughout.
3. With mixer at low speed, beat in pumpkin, sour cream, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice and salt.
4. After these are in, add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
5. Pour pumpkin mixture into crust and place springform inside of large roasting pan.
6. Place pan on oven rack. Carefully, pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come 1 inch up side of springform pan.
7. Bake cheesecake about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the center barely jiggles.
8. Cool cheesecake completely on counter before adding topping.
1. Mix together melted butter, brown sugar and maple syrup.
2. Add walnuts to mixture.
3. Carefully pour over cheesecake. (I like to just do in center, it just looks prettier than all over)
4. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
Obviously, the topping is optional. This is actually the first year I’ve used the topping and it was truly to make the pie prettier for this post. But, it was definitely yummy!! In the past, we’ve served it plain with Cool Whip. I think for Thursday, I will do it with the walnut topping, but also serve Cool Whip on the side!
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this post!! Also, I would even more LOVE to hear if YOU make our pumpkin cheesecake and how it turned out. Pictures welcome also 🙂 Just head to the contact form and shoot me an email!!
If you love this holiday post, just wait til you see what I’ve got in store for you Wednesday! This was all part of a blogger “Friendsgiving” shoot put together by Rutledge Social with clothing from Dandy Boutique, tablescapes and vintage rentals by 428 Main and photos by Catherine Ann Photography. The decor is just stunning, outfits adorable and photography so beautiful. I can’t wait to share with y’all!!