Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce

This Pumpkin Cheesecake is highlighted by an out of this world Salted Caramel sauce.  As if that weren’t enough it is easy to put together with all the flavors of the season.

The most frustrating part of cheesecakes is the possibility of their cracking.

Most of my cheesecakes at the bakery were baked at 350°F.  After the specified time for baking, the ovens were turned off and the cheesecakes sat in the ovens for another specified amount of time, usually the same amount as they baked.

To help ensure a crack-free surface for this Pumpkin Cheesecake, I took it one step further and propped the door open for a short amount of time.  This slow cooling helps prevent a drastic change in temperature which can cause cracking.

I have recently discovered that cheesecakes mixed in a processor have a better texture than those combined in a mixer.  And, while I follow this practice if you don’t have a food processor, a mixer is fine.  No change in directions in needed, just substitute the word mixer for the word processor.

One of the biggest kitchen aids is disposable vinyl kitchen gloves.  I use them for all kind of tasks but they come in particularly handy when mixing the crumb crust.  The fork can only do so much but mixing the ingredients with your hand it the only way I know to completely moisten all the crumbs with butter evenly.

Lastly, there is an acceptable variance in the temperature of the finished sauce.  The lower the temperature of the finished sauce, the thinner it will be.  Having said that,  the sauce will thicken upon cooling.  The sauce on the picture was cooked to 220°F which makes a pretty thick sauce.  I microwaved it slightly to loosen it before adding it to the cheesecake.  The amount of salt added is also variable according to taste.  I like a little, others prefer more. If you don’t like any, omit it.

This Pumpkin Cheesecake is a perfect fall dessert no matter what the occasion.  It can also be frozen and thawed in the refrigerator.  The sauce can be made a week ahead so there is actually no work involved for whenever it is needed.

Salted Caramel Sauce– using the ingredients listed below, go here for how to photos.
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar (400 grams or 14 ounces)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (60 grams or 2 ounces)
1 cup 40% or heavy cream
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon +1 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces

In a heavy saucepan that is at least 4 times as big as the ingredients, place the water, sugar and corn syrup.

Bring to a boil, stirring until it comes to a full boil. Boil until it becomes a deep golden color.

Remove from the heat immediately and add the butter; stir to melt.  Add the cream very carefully as it will boil up furiously.   Lastly, add the salt and vanilla.

Place back over the heat, bring it back to a boil and cook to a temperature of anywhere from 215°F to  220°F.

Immediately, remove from the heat and stir in the pecans.   Pour into a container and let it cool.  Do not stir again after adding the pecans until using.

Store at room temperature for several days or hold longer in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 cups.  You will most likely have sauce left over, unless, like me, you eat it as is.  It is also superb on ice cream or pound cake.Salted Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin Cheesecake CrustCrust ingredients for Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs* (130 grams or 4 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1/2 stick butter, melted (60 grams or 2 ounces)

*If you don’t buy crumbs pre-crushed, crush graham crackers between your hands and add them to the processor bowl.  Process to make crumbs.  Wipe processor bowl clean.

Preheat oven and spray the bottom of 9×3 inch cheesecake pan or springform pan with cooking spray.  Wrap the pan in foil as I did here.  Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the crumbs and brown sugar in large bowl.  Brown sugar and crumbs for Pumpkin CheesecakeMix completely.  Add the butter and Butter added to crumbs for the Pumpkin Cheesecakestir with a fork until all of the crumbs moistened. I use a gloved hand for the final mixing of the crumbs to evenly distribute the butter.  Pour the crumbs into the pan and press in firmly with the heel of your hand.  Crumb Crust for Pumpkin Cheesecake Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven.

Pumpkin CheesecakeIngredients for Pumpkin Cheesecake3 eggs
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (340 grams or 12 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
3 – 8 ounce packages regular cream cheese, room temperature (680 grams or 24 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla

Whisk the eggs until mixed.  Beat eggs for Pumpkin CheesecakeAdd the pumpkin and whisk to combine.  Eggs and pumpkin mixed for Pumpkin CheesecakeAdd the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, cloves, and brown sugar. Whisk well and set aside.Pumpkin mixture ingredients for the Pumpkin Cheesecake

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a processor. Cream cheese in processor for Pumpkin MousseProcess, scraping several times until smooth.  Add the granulated sugar, cream, cornstarch, and vanilla.  Process to mix, scraping down several times. Cream cheese processed for Pumpkin Cheesecake Add the pumpkin mixture to the processor and process, scraping several times.Pumpkin mixture added to cream cheese for Pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake in processorIf you struggle with getting all the mixture out of the bowl, pour as much as possible over the crust in the cheesecake pan.  Return the bowl and blade to the processor.  Cleaning blade of processor for Pumpkin CheesecakePulse several times and the blade will come clean.  Blade cleaned for Pumpkin CheesecakeRemove the blade and scrape the remaining cheesecake into the pan.  Smooth the top.Cheesecake in pan for Pumpkin Cheesecake

Water bath the cheesecake by placing it in a slightly larger pan.  Place on a rimmed pan such as a half sheet pan.  This makes it much safer to move in and out of the oven.Pan on tray for Pumpkin Cheesecake Don’t put it in a deep pan as you want the heat to go around the pan.  Place it in the oven and fill the larger pan with water.Water bathed Pumpkin Cheesecake

Bake for 35 minutes.  Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for another 35 minutes.  At the end of this time, prop the door open by inserting a wooden spoon or another utensil in between the oven and the door.  It should be open about 1 inch or so.  A little more or less doesn’t matter.  After 15 minutes, remove the tray with the cheesecake.

Carefully, lift the Pumpkin Cheesecake out of the water bath and allow it to cool completely.  Place it in the refrigerator overnight.Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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10 thoughts on “Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce

  1. Patty

    hi Helen…wondering if pumpkin cheesecake can be frozen, had good luck plain ones…any thoughts? Know the sauce can be made way in advance.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Patty – Yes it can. I mention it in the last paragraph of the header before the Salted Caramel Pecan Sauce. Hope all is going well for you. Happy your still reading the blog.

  2. Hillary

    Curious if you recommend buying the ground graham cracker crumbs or if you recommend grinding full size graham crackers in the food processor? Does one yield a “fresher” taste or does it not really matter as it is in the crust?

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Hillary – I don’t believe there is any difference. I think the crackers sit on the shelf just as long as the crumbs. I usually freeze my leftover crumbs for the next time.

  3. Dorothy Voreis

    Being recently told I am prediabetic, wondering if you can sub the sugar ie. with erythritol? I did find and make a choc. cheesecake using the substitute sugar for a keto style dessert. It was kind of dry but in trying to quit sugar and white stuff, bread, pasta etc. am getting desperate to quiet my sweet tooth. Am a woman who baked something (and ate it) daily. My freezer used to be stocked with a variety of cupcakes, pies, cheesecake etc. and my neighbors loved it. I miss baking something, anything, horribly! I do love your website!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Dorothy – I’m sorry to hear of your recent diagnosis. My husband is a Type 2 diabetic and my youngest grandson is Type 1. Both can have sugar is you count your carbs. At a doctor’s appt. on Monday, we were told that Mike (my husband) can have sugar as long as he makes exchanges in his diet. At this point, it is very confusing. I am embarrassed to say my grandson with the much more acute diabetes has it all figured out. Will find out the secret when they all come for Thanksgiving.

      Having said that, since the cheesecake does not depend upon air being whipped into it, any artificial sweetener that can be baked should due. Just follow their instructions for substituting. Some are cup for cup, others are not. I found equal to be ideal for baked goods when we had to do sugar-free for conventions.

      If you go to https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Diabetic+baking+books there are plenty of baking books for diabetics.

      Good luck with your transition and take some time to read and learn about it. In addition to recommended foods, portion size is very important as well as snacks between meals to keep your sugar level even so you don’t have highs and lows.

  4. Julie Brock

    Hi, I’m in Australia and we don’t have graham crackers or tinned pumpkin here. Any suggestions please for substitutions.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Julie, I can’t really suggest substitutions as the recipe is specific to these ingredients. I did check Amazon and both are carried there.

    2. Tim Malm

      Last week I made a pumpkin cheesecake using a molasses spice cooky dough for the crust, which is baked prior to final baking of the cheesecake just as with a crumb crust.

      Since it is ‘the season’ I’ll point out that Helen has a wonderful Eggnog Cheesecake recipe on this website.

      I’ve given up on the water bath as there always seems to be a micro pin hole allowing water through the foil.

      On the internet I’ve seen slip-on silicon sleeves for cheesecake and springform pans. I guess it’s time to shop for one. Thanks Helen, Happy Baking.

      1. hfletcher Post author

        Hi Tim – thanks for the help with the reply. Glad to hear you are baking as usual. Funny about the foil. We wrapped thousands of pans in the 23 years the bakery was in existence and never had a problem. However, the sleeve sounds interesting. There was no such thing when the bakery was going. Good tip. Still no Snickerdoodle!

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