I’m not exactly sure on the authenticity or legality of the cookbook I bought last year that features recipes from some of the country’s most popular restaurants, but I do know that it was one of the best $5 I ever spent. The cookbook, accurately called America’s Most Wanted Recipes, has over 200 recipes from some of my favorite restaurants including Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay biscuits, Olive Garden’s salad dressing, Panda Express’ Orange Chicken and a whole lineup of Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes, including today’s feature: Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake.
As a little girl, I hated cheese cake. I couldn’t get over the idea of dessert being composed of cheese, let alone being topped with sour cream — which my mom’s famous cheesecake was. It wasn’t until I was in sixth grade, when I was forced to make Swiss Cheese Cheesecake for a school project, that I was finally a believer. My sophomore year, I made a German Chocolate Cheesecake for our German Class’ Oktoberfest, and I was officially in love.
I went to Cheesecake Factory last weekend and had a glass of red sangria, spicy chicken nachos and Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheesecake for dessert. As soon as I came home, I knew I had to bust out my Most Wanted cookbook to see if I could find my new favorite cheesecake in there. I couldn’t — but I did find something even better: Pumpkin Cheesecake. After an epic October 1, I knew that Pumpkin Cheesecake was just what I needed. So I headed to Treasure Island, the only true grocery store that I can find nearby, grabbed the few ingredients that I didn’t already have and got to work. Check it out.
Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice*
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
To make the crust, mix** the ingredients until crumbly, not pasty. Pat into a 9-inch springform pan, forming the crust along the bottom and up the sides. set aside.
To make the filling, in a mixer, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Add the pumpkin puree and the spices and blend.
Add the eggs one at a time and blend again until mixed.
Pour into the pan over the crust.
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the center is almost set.
Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for an additional 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate for several hours, until the cheesecake cools completely and firms.
To serve, run a knife or metal spatula around the sides of the pan to lossen the cake, and remove the pan.
* When I went to buy pumpkin pie spice, I noticed that it was $6.19! Which I was simply not going to spend. I already had cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg at home, and I was convinced to make that work. Check out this recipe for homemade pumpkin pie spice. I didn’t have the ginger, so I just used what I did have and it turned out great.
**I’m really big on using plastic bags instead of mixing bowls on things like this. I dumped all the crust ingredients in a gallon size, Ziploc bag, left in a little air, sealed it and shook it up until everything was combined. I think it’s easier and requires no clean up.