This recipe has been in the works for a loooong time. I had to make sure it was just right for you guys!
So over the course of a couple of years, I’ve been enduring the difficult task of making (and eating) this cheesecake.
It’s been rough.
I can’t lie – it was delicious right from the start. Pumpkin + cheesecake + bourbon + pecans = win. But I felt it wouldn’t be just if certain quesitons weren’t brought to light.
What if I added 1/4 teaspoon more cinnamon?
Organic pumpkin puree vs. regular?
Proper ratio of pecans to graham cracker in the crust?
The only way to address these pressing matters: make another cheesecake. And another. And another.
The crust was subject to the most experimentation. I tried all kinds of crazy combinations of cookies and nuts.
The answer, of course, turned out to be the simplest: equal parts ground pecans and graham cracker crumbs.
And the filling? Well I took the usual cheesecake suspects, then dumped a bunch of spices, some pureed pumpkin and bourbon on top!
Everything is better with bourbon on top. I’ve done studies.
So after much careful testing, I’m proud to finally share one of my favorite desserts with you.
A not-too-sweet, spicy, pumpkiny, slightly boozy sky-high slice of indulgent goodness.
Bring it to a holiday party! People will like you.
Bourbon Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake
If you don't have bourbon or don't want to use alcohol for any reason - leave it out! It'll still be plenty delicious.
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup finely ground pecans
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 15 ounce can pumpkin puree*
- 6 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
*I've found varying levels of water content in different brands of pumpkin puree. My favorite is Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin, it's dense and rich. If you have a puree that's on the watery side, place it in a few layers of paper towels and give it a gentle squeeze to get rid of some of the excess water.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Wrap the outside of a 10" springform pan with foil. Brush the inside of the pan with some of the melted butter, then combine the remaining butter with the other crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake the crust until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and start on the filling.
- Beat the cream cheese and sour cream in a mixer until smooth. Add the brown sugar and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, bourbon, vanilla, salt and spices until well combined. Add this to the cream cheese mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and fold a few times to make sure the mixture is uniform.
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust and place the springform pan inside of a roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and carefully pour the boiling water in the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the outside of the cheesecake is set but the center is still loose, about 1 hour 45 minutes.
- Turn off the oven, crack the door, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the roasting pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and refrigerate for several hours (until fully set) or overnight.