Question: what’s the big deal about cracking the top of a cheesecake? I just don’t get it…so what if it cracks? Does it not set up right? Does it not taste as good? Does a kitten die every time a cheesecake cracks? Can’t you just spread some whipped cream on top of the crack and pretend it never happened? Someone explain this to me!
Even though I don’t understand the fuss about the crack-less cheesecake, I have the perfect cheesecake recipe for you if you do. Seriously, I didn’t even care if it cracked or not and what do ya know? It came out perfectly smooth. No cracks to be seen. This appeared to be for three reasons: not over beating the cheesecake batter, using a water bath to bake it in, and cooling the cheesecake in the oven.
This cheesecake was the second half of my Thanksgiving dessert extravaganza and even up against pretty tough competition, it held its own…it was a hit! Like any cheesecake, it’s incredibly rich, but it doesn’t have the texture of a dense and heavy cheesecake. The texture is smooth and creamy, and even after Thanksgiving dinner it didn’t feel like too heavy of a dessert. We loved the pumpkin spice flavor and was delicious even without whipped cream. But if you want to go all Cheesecake Factory on me and pile it with some whipped cream, go right ahead.
No-Crack Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake
adapted fromCooking on the Side
yields 12 servings
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (or gingersnap crumbs)
1/4 cup white sugar
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Stir together until well combined and all crumbs are “dampened” by the butter.
Press mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
In bowl with electric mixer, beat together the three packages of cream cheese on low until smooth and creamy. Mixing it on low ensures too much air isn’t being whipped into it. Stop and scrape bowl. Add sweetened condensed milk and continue beating it on low until it is combined with the cream cheese. Scrape bowl as necessary.
Add pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and beat on low until combined.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Wrap the bottom of the spring form pan with two sheets of aluminum foil, making sure moisture will not leak into the pan. Put the aluminum foil wrapped pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the pumpkin cream cheese mixture evenly over the pre-baked crust.
Place the roasting pan with the spring form pan on the middle rack of the oven. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan so it comes up halfway on the side of the spring form pan.
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then, keeping the cheesecake in the oven, turn off oven and prop open the oven door. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour. After one hour, carefully remove from oven and continue cooling until it has completely cooled, another hour or so. Cover and let chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight.