This pumpkin swirl cheesecake officially marks the start of the holiday baking season in my house [and also officially marks my return to the gym after a not-so-brief leave]. A lot of people shy away from making cheesecake at home, because they think its a complicated or temperamental process. This recipe is actually about five times easier than baking a cake and making icing. The hardest part is not eating the batter with the raw eggs in it. As a classic rule follower, you’d think I’d know better than to eat raw batter. But no. I think I’ve suffered from self-induced salmonella at least twice in the past two years. If there is cream cheese and sugar in a bowl, my self-control plunges.
With two days before the holiday season, I’m in full out prep mode. This year I’m making a cheese tray, winter sangria, two side dishes, and two desserts to bring with me to my parent’s house on Thursday. I’ll be sharing all of the recipes over the next week or so, but I wanted to get you something delicious before Thanksgiving in case you’re scouring the internet tonight for a dessert that will put those store-bought pies on the table to shame.
The crust of this cheesecake is probably worth a million calories alone. Using gingerbread cookies in place of graham crackers for the crust really elevates the taste of the cheesecake. The gingerbread/pumpkin combination works incredibly well together and because gingerbread cookies are a bit firmer than graham crackers, the crust stays nice and crisp. I provide instructions at the bottom for how to properly freeze and thaw cheesecakes, if you’re looking to make these in advance to use as gifts throughout the holiday season. Continue reading