The year Luke and I got married we decided that it had been a whirlwind of a year and we would not travel to see our families for Thanksgiving. After all in one year we had moved to the ‘burbs, I started a new job, Luke started graduate school, we planned a wedding, got married, took an amazing 2 week honeymoon to Spain, and last but definitely not the least we adopted Chumley who was a destructive little gremlin during all of this. We decided that we would have Thanksgiving just the 2 of us (well 2 1/2 if you count the gremlin).
Since this was our first Thanksgiving as a “married” couple I of course thought it had to be an epic Thanksgiving so I went all out on the food front. We had so much food – it was incredible and kind of sickening. I think we are probably still full from that meal. We had homemade biscuits, turkey stuffed with sausage stuffing, a fig stuffing(because you can never have too much stuffing), corn casserole and this pumpkin cheesecake with marshmallow sour cream topping. This cheesecake was the MVP of the meal and has been a staple in our Thanksgiving rotation ever since.
Truth be told, I am not a fan of pumpkin pie. I don’t know why but I think it is the texture and after a bite or two it is just too much pumpkin. This pumpkin cheesecake solves that problem. It is the perfect combination of creamy pumpkin, tartness from the cream cheese and sweetness from the topping. Not to mention that there is a gingersnap crust to keep everything in place. Plus the best part is that this cheesecake has to be made ahead of time so you can make it the day before Thanksgiving and not worry about desert at all on the big day.
Since Thanksgiving is less than a month away I thought I would share my secret weapon for the best holiday of the year. We will be celebrating the holiday with my family in Florida this year and I can promise that this will be on the Thanksgiving menu this year and for many years to come.
- For crust:
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 9 ounces)
- 1 cup pecans (about 3 1/2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- For filling:
- 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
- 5 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- For topping:
- 2 cups mini marshmallows or large marshmallows cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Grind cookie crumbs, pecans, brown sugar, and ginger in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add butter; using on/off turns, process to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; press onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan. Bake crust until set and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating on low speed to incorporate each addition. Add flour, spices, and salt; beat just to blend. Beat in vanilla. Transfer filling to cooled crust. Bake until filling is just set in center and edges begin to crack (filling will move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool 1 hour. Run knife around sides of pan to release crust. Chill cheesecake uncovered in pan overnight.
Stir marshmallows and milk in medium saucepan over low heat until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Cool marshmallow mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Add sour cream to marshmallow mixture; fold gently just to blend. Pour topping over cheesecake and spread evenly, leaving 1/2 inch uncovered around edges. Chill to set topping, at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Cheesecake can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.