Half pumpkin pie and half cheesecake with a spiced gingersnap cookie crust, this dessert is suited for the Thanksgiving table or any type of fall entertaining. It can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days, plus it travels well, making it an excellent and impressive potluck holiday dish.
Special equipment: You will need a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for coating the pan
1 cuppumpkin purée (not pie filling, about 8 ounces)
1 teaspoonground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoonground cloves
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoonvanilla extract
1/4 cup cold heavy cream
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with butter; set aside.
Place the gingersnaps in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until very fine, about 20 seconds (you should have about 2 cups). Stop the motor, add the melted butter, and pulse until combined.Alternatively, place the gingersnaps in a resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and seal. Using a rolling pin, smash the cookies into fine uniform crumbs, then transfer to a medium bowl, add the melted butter, and mix until evenly combined.
Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup, press it evenly into the bottom and three-quarters of the way up the sides. Bake the crust until it’s fragrant and slightly darkened in color, about 15 to 20 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the pumpkin purée into a thin, even layer on a large plate. Cover with a quadruple layer of paper towels and press until the towels are saturated with moisture (don’t worry—they won’t stick to the purée). Peel back the paper towels and discard. Transfer the pumpkin to a small bowl, add the cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves, and stir to combine; set aside.
When the crust is ready, whisk together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl and set aside. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low, pour in the sugar-flour mixture, and beat until incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle.
With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and then slowly pour in the cream; mix until just combined. Keeping the mixer on low, add the egg yolks one at a time, then the whole eggs one at a time, allowing each to incorporate completely before adding the next. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle as needed.
Pour 3 cups of the batter into a medium bowl or measuring cup and reserve. Add the spiced pumpkin mixture to the remaining batter in the mixer and beat on low speed just until evenly incorporated.
Using a large spoon, dollop half of the reserved plain batter into the cooled crust in several places. Dollop half of the pumpkin batter over and in between the plain batter. Dollop the remaining plain batter over the pumpkin batter. Finish with the remaining pumpkin batter, dolloping it over the plain batter. Drag a knife through the batter in figure eights to create a marbled pattern, being careful not to disturb the crust. Gently rap the bottom of the springform pan on a flat surface a few times to even out the top of the cheesecake.
Bake until the edges of the cake are lightly browned and the center is barely set, about 55 to 65 minutes (the center of the cake will still appear jiggly). Turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Run a thin, sharp knife around the inner edge of the pan. Place a baking sheet over the cheesecake. Let it cool, carefully removing the baking sheet once or twice to wipe away any condensation that has formed on the underside, until the springform pan is lukewarm to the touch, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the baking sheet and refrigerate the cake until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. To serve, unlock and remove the outer ring of the pan.