I don't really like to deviate from a classic cheesecake but this one is well worth the exception. The texture is light enough to end an epic meal on a very good and respectable note. It's not overly sweet, which works for me, but you may want to consider adjusting the sugar to your taste. The pumpkin comes through loud and clear but the real star for me is the gingersnap crust. The recipe that I used for inspiration called for homemade gingersnaps but I had other pressing meal prep things to do (like burpees, pushups and crunches).
If you have the time and the ambition, I imagine the end result would be that much more amazing if you did whip out a batch of homemade cookies. I would totally give you extra credit points at the dinner table.
adapted from pastry chef Karen DeMasco of Locanda Verde
for the crust:
1 3/4 c gingersnap cookie crumbs (I used Whole Food's 365 brand)
4 T butter, melted
1 T flour
1-2 T brown sugar
1/2 t salt
for the cake:
2 c fresh ricotta
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 c sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 t salt
1 c canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c heavy cream
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t cardamom
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t salt
Preheat oven to 350º
Line a 9" springform pan on the inside and out with heavy duty foil to create a water-tight seal. Press all of the wrinkles as flat as you can. Butter the inside foil and set aside.
Combine all of the ingredients for the crust together in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan using a flat-bottomed glass to make it as even as possible.
Freeze for 10 minutes and then bake for 20-25 minutes. Set on a wire rack to cool completely.
Turn the oven down to 300º
In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the ingredients for the cheese filling until smooth. Pour 1/2 (about 2 cups) of the mixture into a bowl.
Add all of the ingredients for the pumpkin filling to the remaining cheese filling mixture in the bowl of the food processor and puree until smooth.
Pour the cheese filling into pan. Gently spoon the pumpkin filling on top. Using a spoon, swirl the mixture in about 6-8 places.
Place the springform pan in a roasting pan. Carefully fill the roasting pan with boiling water to about halfway up the side on the cake pan. I suggest doing this after you set the pan on your oven rack. I think risking losing some heat from your oven if better than walking with a pan of sloshing, boiling water to get on you and into your cake. Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil.
Bake the cake for 1 hour. After an hour, open up the foil to release the steam. Re-close the foil and repeat the process every 15 minutes for about 45 minutes or until the cake is set. It should be slightly jiggly in the center. Remove form the roasting pan and remove the outer layer of foil. Chill the cake for at least 6 hours but 24 is better.