I didn't bestow that title on this seemingly celebrity-status dessert. That's the name it came with! I was determined to make a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving and I found several recipes in magazines and online. This particular recipe seemed special to me however. It made a large, restaurant size cheesecake with a super-buttery crumb crust and I just couldn't resist it's name. They totally reeled me in with the guarantee of "almost famous". It must be good then...right?? Well, fortunately, it was. It was more than good. It was stupendous!
Cheesecake on Thanksgiving is definitely a risk since you're asking people to eat a huge meal and then throw down a very rich dessert. Our crowd took on the challenge however, and did pretty well. And those who couldn't stuff in dessert took home slices of this spicy pumpkin dessert. I think those who took pieces home might actually enjoy it more than those who shoved it in after overloading their tastebuds on turkey and fixins. I would rather enjoy this cheesecake as a meal the day after Thanksgiving. It definitely deserves that kind of special attention.
A few notes about the recipe. For one, I substituted gingersnap cookies for the graham crackers in the crust. Another note about the crust, the 12 tablespoons of butter is too much, in my opinion. If I was to do it again, I'd probably use half the amount of butter. I used the whole 12 tablespoons and during the pre-baking process the butter was dripping out of my springform pan onto the oven floor causing my oven to smoke horribly. The house was full of thick smoke from the burning butter on the bottom of my oven. And honestly, it was just too much damn butter (and I thought I'd never say that, too much butter? How is it possible right?). But it's true. A little less and believe me you won't notice the difference in taste. The cheesecake part itself packs enough punch. Enjoy!
Almost-Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 3/4 cups sugar
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups sweetened whipped cream
1/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush a 10-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack, then wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil and place in a roasting pan.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar and beat until just light, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt and the spices and beat until just combined. Pour into the cooled crust.
Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don't pull the rack out) and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, then carefully remove from the roasting pan and cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edges, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
Bring the cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Unlock and remove the springform ring. To finish, place a dollop of the whipped cream on each slice and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.