Growing up, pumpkin pie was my favorite thing. We had it once per year, on Thanksgiving. Maaaaaybe we'd have one on Christmas, but there was no guarantee. Even at a young age I savored each bite, always with an equal ratio of "whipped topping" to pie, knowing that I wouldn't get another taste for a whole year. Luckily, my palate has expanded a bit since those days. I still like my pumpkin pie, but I like a lot of other things, too. AND since I'm a grownup (Mostly. Technically.), I can have pumpkin whenever I want. Sorry to any "whipped topping" lovers out there...but you won't find that in my house anymore. What you will find in my refrigerator right this very moment is Pumpkin Hazelnut Cheesecake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream.
This beauty is the creamiest, dreamiest pumpkin cheesecake you've ever had with a graham cracker and hazelnut crust. I topped it with cinnamon whipped cream, chopped hazelnuts, and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
I've made multiple pumpkin cheesecakes in the past. This one is by FAR the best. I love, love, love the smooth texture of the cheesecake paired with the crunch of the hazelnuts in the crust, and the combination of flavors is outstanding.
You can use a standard 9" springform pan with removable bottom, but I LOVE my "push pan." This pan's bottom has a silicone seal that's waterproof, so you can set the pan directly into the water bath and have no worries about water leaking in! If you're interested in getting one for yourself, you can find one [here].
I can rarely find hazelnuts at my local grocery store. If you can’t find them, they’re online [here].
Check out the recipe notes for more detail on baking the cheesecake in a water bath. After baking, the cheesecake cools in the oven for an hour, on the counter until it's room temperature, and then in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 more hours. It takes a long time, but IT'S WORTH IT!
Also, don't be afraid to make this one in advance. The hazelnuts can be toasted in ahead of time, and I found the flavor of the cheesecake on day 2 to be even better than the first day. You could make the cheesecake the day before and then add the whipped cream closer to the time you'll serve the cheesecake.
Put this gorgeous (and delicious!) cheesecake on your to-do list! It would be perfect for Thanksgiving...or, you know, a Monday...since that's when I made this one. 😀
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Pumpkin Hazelnut Cheesecake
Graham Cracker and Hazelnut Crust:
- 16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 15 oz pumpkin puree (*not* pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
For Toasting Hazelnuts:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place ¾ cup hazelnuts (½ cup for crust and ¼ cup for garnish) on a baking sheet. Toast hazelnuts for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly golden and fragrant.
- Place the toasted hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub to remove skins. Allow hazelnuts to cool completely. Hazelnuts can be toasted ahead of time and stored in an airtight container after cooling.
- If you haven't already from the hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9" springform pan (see note) with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Combine graham crackers, ½ cup toasted hazelnuts, and brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground.
- Add melted butter and pulse to incorporate, making sure the mixture is completely coated in butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Place pan on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, or until slightly golden.
- Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine at low speed, then increase to medium until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves) and salt. Mix briefly to combine.
- Add pumpkin and mix to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, allowing the first egg to incorporate before adding the second. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Mix to incorporate.
- Pour filling into prepared crust. Wrap the bottom and up the sides of the pan in at least two layers of heavy-duty foil to keep the water bath out of the cheesecake (see note on springform pan).
- Place the cheesecake in a water bath (see notes) in the preheated oven. Bake until cheesecake is just set, but still wobbly in the center, about 1 hour.
- Turn off the oven. With the oven door slightly ajar, leave the cheesecake to slowly cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the pan from the oven and run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake to be sure it is released from the pan. Allow the cheesecake to cool on a rack to room temperature. Once at room temperature, chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
For Whipped Cream/Topping:
- Place cold heavy cream, powdered sugar, and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer. Start the mixer on low speed, and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until the cream thickens and forms peaks.
- After it has chilled, top the cheesecake with the cinnamon whipped cream and chopped toasted hazelnuts. Sprinkle with additional ground cinnamon, if desired.Enjoy!