This is my absolute favorite Autumn dessert! I wait all year to make it specially for Thanksgiving. Last year I baked it in a cupcake pan for individual sized cheesecakes, but I love a classic, tall, creamy, slice, that you can sink your fork into, making sure to get a little of everything in each bite.
I made a mini cheesecake, but you can use this recipe to make a traditional size as well. To make a regular 9-inch cheesecake, double recipe and pour cheesecake filling into a pre-made 9-inch graham cracker crust for a simple alternative, or triple recipe and bake in a 9-in springform pan. A 9-inch is way too big for my family, so I ended up inventing a DIY mini parchment paper cheesecake pan! Yup, I made a makeshift springform pan out of some parchment paper. I was so excited when I came up with the idea and couldn't wait to share it with you.
I knew I needed a pan with a removable bottom for my cheesecake, like a springform pan, ring mold, or tart pan... but didn't have time (nor did I want to) go out and buy a cheesecake pan the night before Thanksgiving, for my cheesecake that I make once a year. If you have a smaller 6-inch springform pan you can definitely use that, if not I just made a ring of parchment as the sides of the pan, placed on a piece of parchment as the bottom of the pan. This way I could simple peel the parchment away after baking, for a perfect cheesecake in any size I wanted! Here is how I made it:
Parchment Paper Cheesecake Pan
By Lindsay Ann
You will need
- parchment paper (not the same as wax paper!)
- ruler/measuring tape OR round container the size you want your pan (optional)
- baking pan or cookie sheet for baking on
Cut a piece of parchment paper from the roll, about18 inches long.
Fold it in half, lengthwise. This will help strengthen the sides of your parchment pan.
Fold it in half again, lengthwise, creating an 18x 4 inch piece of parchment.
Wrap your parchment strip around an item that is the size you would like your pan to be. In this case I wanted a 5-6 inch pan, which happened to be the same size as the oatmeal container I had. Cans of corn, beans, soup, etc. also work, to create mini 3 inch parchment pans. Staple the sides together, making sure there is a row of at least 3 staples where the parchment is connected (a staple on top, bottom, and in the middle).
Line the bottom of a cake pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper, and place your 5 or 6 inch parchment ring on top, in the center. Voila! There you have your parchment cheesecake pan! Spray bottom and sides of parchment pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Now it's time to get started on the cheesecake. Crush your gingersnap cookies using a rolling pin and a plastic ziplock bag. You can also do graham cracker crumbs, but I like the festive flavor the gingersnaps add.
Mix cookie crumbs with butter and sugar to create your crust. Press it down into the bottom of your parchment pan using the bottom of a glass. Make sure the crust is packed in tight so the batter can't escape out of the bottom!
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Make sure it is at room temperature, so you don't get lumps in your cheesecake. Add sugar and beat until smooth.
Add your pumpkin and egg. Beat on low until incorporated. Don't over beat!!
Add the remaining ingredients and gently beat until just combine.
Pour in top of your prepared crust.
Place a pan of water on the rack directly below the middle rack where your cheesecake will be. This is used in place of a water bath, which keeps your cheesecake moist and reduces the chance of your cheesecake cracking on top.
Place your cheesecake pan directly above the water pan, and bake at 325 degrees F for about an hour. After baking, let the cheesecake sit in the oven, with the door ajar slightly and the heat turned off for about an hour. If you just pull the cheesecake out without letting it rest in the warm oven (with the heat off) after baking, it will crack on top!
After your cheesecake has rested and cooled off in the oven, continue to cool on a wire rack on the counter top. Refrigerate overnight.
Peel away parchment ring (being careful of staples).
Prepare whipped cream (or use store bought) and pipe on top of your completely cooled cheesecake.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake With Maple Spiced Whipped Cream
Yield: mini 6 inch cheesecake*
*Standard 9-inch: double recipe and pour cheesecake filling into a pre-made 9-inch graham cracker crust and bake as directed, or triple recipe and bake in a 9-in springform pan
- 1/2-3/4 cup ginger snap cookie crumbs (may sub graham cracker if desired)
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature (do not use light or low fat)
- 4 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 2 tablespoons packed brown
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sour cream (may sub heavy whipping cream)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Maple Spiced (Bourbon Spiked) Whipped Cream*
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1-2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray the bottom and sides of a store bought or DIY (tutorial above), 6-inch spring form pan, with non-stick cooking spray. If using a pre-made graham cracker pie crust, skip this step
In a small bowl combine ginger snap crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press into bottom of parchment circle, using the bottom of a glass to pack it down. Making sure crust is packed in tight!
Prepare cheesecake filling:
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the sugars. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. On low speed, beat in the pumpkin and egg. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and cornstarch just until incorporated. Do not over beat, this incorporates too much air into the batter, which can cause the cheesecake to rise and then sink during baking. Pour cheesecake filling evenly over prepared crust.
Place a baking pan filled with water in the center of the bottom rack, directly under the middle rack where your cheesecake will be. (The steam helps keep your cheesecake moist and reduces chances of cracking on top.)
Bake for about 1 hour. Do not over bake. Cheesecake will be done when the center is still a little jiggly and the edges are lightly golden brown. Once cheesecake is done baking, to avoid sinking or cracking on top, you must let it sit in the warm oven to rest, with the heat turned off and the oven door slightly opened just a crack, for about 1 more hour after baking. The center will continue to cook from the residual heat and set as it cools down.
After the hour of resting in the oven, remove cheesecake from oven and cool completely on a wire rack on the counter top. Once cheesecake is completely cooled, refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight before serving. Remove parchment ring carefully.
Prepare Whipped Cream:
Combine all ingredients in a large chilled bowl, and whip until peaks form. Pipe or dollop into cheesecake just before serving. (I used a Wiltom 1M star tip to pipe simple fancy swirls on each slice.)
Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.