Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Have I mentioned I love fall?! In my house, I have officially declared it the most wonderful time of the year. At the first sign of a temperature drop, we don our cozy sweaters, pull up our reading socks and I personally rejoice at finally being able to use the oven again after his long summer nap. There is no shortage of baking going on, with many a seasonal loaf and cookie batches ushering in the colder weather. PLUS, we make all the pumpkin things!

Last week I was looking for a dessert recipe for our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday gathering and happened upon this little gem from Kraft – What’s Cooking. Now full disclosure on this one, Kraft is not usually my go to for fancy desserts, but their social media team should be awarded a gold star for making this pop up in my Facebook feed at the perfect moment!

I did adapt this in a few places. The published recipe called for a short cake bottom, which I think would be delish, but being a cheesecake purist myself, I decided to go with a graham cracker crust instead. I also omitted the coffee, as my kids and husband aren’t big on the whole java flavor train… But I bet it would also be amazing if that is your jam and you left it in. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also sub in your favorite fall spice blends, adding more or less of those you love. I have a great Epicure pumpkin pie spice mix, which I buy in bulk when it is available, but you can feel free to use your own like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, yum!

Even the pumpkin seed brittle, which to be perfectly honest scared the heck out of me, was actually very easy to make and this finishing touch definitely provided major impact when I served this beauty up on Thanksgiving Day. It also is a great make ahead recipe and can be stored in the fridge overnight. I hope you enjoy eating… I mean making this as much as I did.

Love, Nic

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Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
An elegant, but simple pumpkin cheesecake recipe, topped with whipping cream and pumpkin seed brittle. Sure to invoke oohs and ahhs and score you major foodie votes at your next fall gathering.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1 tbsp. brown sugar and 2 tbsp. of regular sugar in a medium sized bowl. Add in the melted butter and use a fork to combine the ingredients well.
  3. Pour the graham crumb mixture into a non-stick spring form pan and firmly pack into the bottom, and then gently press up the sides about an 1/8th of an inch.
  4. At this point you can choose your own adventure by either putting the crust in the oven for 7-10 minutes, if you like a crispier graham cracker crust. Or you can hold off and let it bake with the rest of the cheesecake for a slightly softer crust. I went with option #1 and pre-baked the crust for 7 minutes.
  5. Add the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar into a large bowl or stand mixer, and beat on medium to high speed until well blended. Add in the vanilla and mix one more time, until fully combined.
  6. Add in the eggs; one at a time, mixing on low to medium speed until just blended, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one.
  7. Split the batter into 2 portions, keeping 1 1/2 cups to the side. Add the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice into the remaining batter and once combined, carefully pour the batter over the graham cracker crust.
  8. Pour the remaining (non-pumpkin) batter on top and using a spoon; gently spreading into an even layer. You'll essentially now have a darker "pumpkin" layer and a lighter "non-pumpkin" layer.
  9. Bake 45 to 50 min, or until the center of the cheesecake is nearly set. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the rim of the spring form pan. Allow to fully cool before unlatching and removing the rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.
  10. While the cheesecake is cooling, mix the 1/2 cup of remaining sugar and water together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, without stirring for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in the pumpkin seeds until evenly coated with the sugar syrup.
  11. Carefully pour onto parchment-covered baking sheet and let cool completely. Be very careful with this step as the sugar syrup is very hot!
  12. Now you are officially in the home stretch, whip the cream, adding in a little more of the pumpkin pie spices in if you like. It's also delicious without, so follow your heart's desire here.
  13. Drizzle with the caramel sauce, dollop the whipped cream onto the center of your cheesecake and break the brittle into smaller pieces; artfully arranging them on top.
  14. Stand back and admire your beautiful cheesecake. Great job!
Recipe Notes

One thing I absolutely love about this recipe is how much it can be customized. Don't want to make the graham cracker crust? Go store bought. Don't want to whip the cream yourself? Perfect, Cool Whip or a prepared whipped cream will work too. No brittle? No problem. Well, you get the picture. 🙂

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