Something to Be Thankful For: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping

This year, Tom and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for a small group of family and friends, and Tom was good enough to take charge of the turkey and most of the sides. I only had to worry about the cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and dessert. (I also found a workaround for our lack of oven space; I convinced Tom to cut our turkey in half before roasting, which meant that it took up less space in the oven, which meant that I could actually fit the stuffing in the oven at the same time as the turkey. Score!) I decided to try a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping and Gingersnap Crust, mostly because I could make it the day before and thereby reduce the cooking burden and kitchen mayhem on Thanksgiving Day itself.

I made my own gingersnaps for the crust (using my standard recipe from Sunday Best Baking: Over a Century of Secrets from the White Lily Kitchen; the recipe is also available here on the White Lily website) earlier in the week, running them through the food processor to make crumbs. Also, while the crust calls for pecans, one of our dinner guests has a nut allergy, so I just substituted more gingersnap crumbs for the nuts.

I read many of the recipe reviews before making the cheesecake, and I noticed a common complaint about the cheesecake cracking during baking, along with the use of the water bath as a suggested remedy. I had a flashback to my first real job, when I worked at Brown Baggers sandwich shop in Lincoln for $3.80 an hour during my senior year in high school. While my main responsibilities were to work the cash register and wash dishes, one of the store owners decided to entrust me with making cheesecakes (quite a leap of faith, as I had never made a cheesecake before). The Brown Baggers cheesecake was baked without a water bath, and without fail, it always cracked during baking. But the cheesecake was topped with a sour cream layer that disguised any imperfections in the underlying cake. It occurred to me that the marshmallow-sour cream layer for the pumpkin cheesecake recipe would serve the same purpose. Sure enough, when I didn't use a water bath, the cake did crack during baking. But after spackling over with the top layer, you couldn't tell the difference.

I also noticed some complaints that there was too much batter to fit in a 9-inch pan. I had the same problem, and just threw away the excess batter instead of risking a spillover. The outside edge of the cheesecake layer became very dark during baking, to the point where it was almost the same color as the crust.

This cheesecake was fabulous. The lightly spiced pumpkin layer was creamy without being too heavy, and while I couldn't really taste any marshmallow flavor, the sour cream topping added a nice tang. The gingersnap crust was also outstanding -- very crisp, buttery, and full of flavor. I would happily make this cheesecake again, any time, and it was a fitting finish to a special holiday meal.

Recipe: Pumpkin Cheese with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping and Gingersnap Crust from


Tom said…
This cheesecake was delicious! Of course all of us being together was the best part of Thanksgiving -- but the cheesecake was the best part of the actual meal!