Perfectly Simple Pumpkin Cheesecake


Pumpkin cheesecake is not technically a pie, but it does have a crust and has become a Thanksgiving classic. And I've simplified its crust, too: Simply lay whole graham crackers in the pan, then spread melted butter and sugar over the crackers, and bake.

15 servings


  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 8 whole graham crackers

  • 1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin puree

  • 1 ¾ cups dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • teaspoon ground allspice

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 ½ pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup Optional garnish: Toasted or candied pecans


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Heat butter and sugar in a saucepan until butter melts. Meanwhile, line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with a 12-by-20-inch sheet of foil so it hangs over the long sides of the pan (you'll use this as a 'handle' to pull the cooked dessert from the pan). Arrange graham crackers over foil-lined pan bottom, cutting the final few with a knife so they'll fit snugly. Pour butter mixture over crackers; spread with knife to cover. Bake until butter-sugar mixture starts to harden, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees.

  3. As crust bakes, heat pumpkin, 1 1/4 cups brown sugar and spices in a medium pan over medium-high heat until mixture is sputtery hot. Process eggs on high speed in a blender. Transfer pumpkin to a pourable container. With blender running, slowly add pumpkin mixture; puree until smooth. Add cream cheese, one block at a time; puree until smooth. Pour mixture over crust; bake until set, about 35 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, mix sour cream, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar and vanilla. Remove cheesecake from oven. Pour sour cream mixture evenly over top; carefully spread so top is completely covered. Return to oven. Bake to set topping, about 5 minutes longer. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate (can be made up to 2 days ahead).

  5. To serve, run a knife around the pan perimeter to loosen cake. Use foil handles to pull cake from pan. Cut into squares (up to 15) and garnish with optional pecans.


Copyright 2004 USA WEEKEND and columnist Pam Anderson. All rights reserved.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

475 Calories
34g Fat
38g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 15
Calories 475
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34g 44%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Cholesterol 125mg 42%
Sodium 300mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 116mg 9%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 250mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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