Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

It's Thanksgiving week, and I'm at a loss over how to write this blog post as Thanksgiving is the anniversary of my stepdaughter's passing. I guess, I start by telling you a little bit about her.  Camarie is Bill's eldest daughter and when his first marriage ended, she chose to stay with dad. She was eighteen when I met her - beautiful, with gorgeous brown eyes, soft silky hair, tall and skinny, with an unforgettable laugh.  Camarie had a dry sense of humor with sarcastic remarks, but she was the most honest person I've ever met in my life. And, at first, she wasn't happy. Like many children of divorce, she wanted her daddy to herself. I totally understood.

Over the years, our relationship formed and I became more of a confidant that she trusted with her secrets & cried on my shoulders. I don't have children of my own, so I was delighted to be accepted by Camarie & Wynette, the youngest.

Camarie & I <3

Camarie & I <3

Bill and I married two years ago and Camarie delivered a remarkable speech at dinner saying how happy she was to have me as a stepmother. I clutched her to me, ruining my make-up crying onto her shoulder.

Camarie loved many things in life, her first and most passion was animals, she had an uncanny love for them, not only the beautiful fluffy puppies, but also the scariest of snakes and lizards. She was like Mother Theresa for the animals. She always would say it's easier to deal with animals than people.

Camarie wasn't a foodie per say, but she loved Sushi and my cheesecake. And funny thing is thatI wasn't an expert in baking cheesecake, but Camarie loved pumpkin cheesecake and she kept on asking me to make it. Through out the years I baked my share of cracked and lumpy cheesecakes; you can read my notes on how to make the best cheesecake; until I got really good at it.

Today, it is with a heavy heart, that I bake her favorite cheesecake.  But I feel her present here in my kitchen with her wonderful laugh. I love you baby and will miss you forever.

If you decided to make this cheesecake, please remember our girl with her gorgeous brown eyes and beautiful smile, remember our Camarie <3

Key-points

To make this pumpkin spice cheesecake, I make my own spice rather than buying it from the store. It's easy and so much more fragrant than the ones sold in the market.

To make the crust, I use the regular graham crackers with a hint of cardamom and cinnamon, but you can use any type of crackers that you have. I've used ginger snaps or Oreo cookies, the only difference is that if you're using cookies with creams and flavors, you might want to skip the cinnamon and cardamom. 

I also sprinkle the top with sugared pumpkin seeds, which adds a nice crunch to the creamy cheesecake.

Pumpkin Spice

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves

Process:

Stir together all the ingredients and create a do it yourself pumpkin spice cheesecake.

Sugared Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F & grease a baking pan
  2. in a small bowl combine the egg, sugar, cinnamon, and salt
  3. Stir in the pumpkin seeds and spread in prepared pan
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the seeds start to brown; stirring occasionally, remove from the oven and let cool

 

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

Yields: 3x6" cheesecakes                          Bake time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients for crust:

  • 4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 226g butter; melted

Ingredients for filling:

  • 454g (2 packages) cream cheese,at room temperature
  • 220g (1 can) pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Process:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  2. In a food processor, pulse together all the crust ingredients, divide the mix equally between the cheesecake pans and press firmly until leveled. Set aside until the filling is ready.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer & with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until smooth
  4. On low speed, add eggs, sour cream, and sugar, cleaning the sides of the bowl with a spatula
  5. Add pumpkin puree, spices, vanilla, and corn starch & mix
  6. Pour the filling over the crust, place in the oven and bake with a water bath for 45 to 50 minutes or until the cheesecake still giggles in the center.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes, cover with plastic wrap &  place in the fridge for 24 hours before removing from the pans.
  8. Before serving sprinkle the top with sugared pumpkin seeds & enjoy.

 

I wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Lets bake a sweeter world together.