This dessert is the perfect marriage of two classic holiday treats: pumpkin pie and cheesecake. It’s full of spiced fall flavors and all of the creamy goodness of a cheesecake. It’s the ideal make-ahead dessert since it needs to be chilled for some time anyway. You can also freeze the cheesecake whole or in slices for a future celebration.
- For the Crust:
- 10 graham crackers
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Cheesecake:
- 3 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
- 1 (14-ounce) can dulce de leche (or sweetened condensed milk)
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin pie filling
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- Garnish: caramel sauce
- For the Whipped Cream:
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon bourbon whiskey
- 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cheesecake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Make the Crust
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Pulse the graham crackers and brown sugar in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Pour in the melted butter and vanilla while the food processor is running. Run until the butter and vanilla are incorporated into the graham cracker crumbs.
Pour the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Press down the mixture with a measuring cup to create an even crust.
Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool.
Make the Cheesecake
Gather the ingredients. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 F.
Add the softened cream cheese blocks to a large bowl. Add the dulce de leche and the sour cream and beat until smooth. Add the pumpkin pie filling, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and salt. Beat with a hand mixer until the mixture is completely smooth and no lumps remain.
Beat in the eggs one at a time until just combined with the cream cheese mixture. Do not overbeat once the eggs are added—too much beating will aerate the batter and make it rise and fall in the oven.
Place the springform pan on a baking sheet (for easy access in and out of the oven). Pour the batter onto the prepared crust and place on the bottom rack of the preheated oven.
Bake for 90 to 120 minutes. Do not try and open the oven door until 90 minutes. After this time open it a crack and then slowly open the rest of the way. Gently nudge the cheesecake pan. If there is only a slight giggle in the middle, it's ready. If the whole cheesecake still jiggles, then leave it in for another 15-minute interval.
Turn off the oven and open the door to the oven halfway. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven. Once it has cooled in the oven for 20 minutes, you may remove and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack on the counter.
Once it has completely cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.
Make the Whipped Cream
Gather the ingredients.
Whip the cream in a chilled bowl with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.
Add the powdered sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and maple extract and beat for a few more seconds or until slightly stiffer peaks form. Do not overbeat or it will become butter. Place the whipped cream in a piping bag and pipe onto each slice of the cheesecake. Serve and enjoy with extra whipped cream and caramel sauce.