The Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake



I have a brother who is absolutely obsessed with cheesecake, I’ve been making him one for his birthday almost every year for the past five or six years. The only problem is that he has requested the exact same cheesecake every time. He always requests a cherry cheesecake, which don’t get me wrong, it is delicious but it doesn’t allow me to be very creative. Because it’s Fall, I’ve been playing around with pumpkin a lot, so I wanted to figure out a way to infuse it into a cheesecake. I did a little research and discovered that pumpkin cheesecakes are definitely a thing, and then figured out how to make my own gluten-free version of it. My cheesecake loving brother and the rest of my family absolutely loved this cheesecake and can’t wait for me to make another.


I personally am not the biggest fan of cheesecake, so I didn’t really know if I would enjoy a pumpkin cheesecake that much, but this turned out so well. The graham cracker crust had an amazing buttery, cinnamon flavor, and the filling was such a delicious balance of pumpkin and cheesecake. The pumpkin helped to tone down the sometimes overwhelming cream cheese flavor, and the spices tied everything together perfectly. My favorite part was definitely the crust, I use Pamela's Honey Grahams for everything that requires graham crackers. They have cinnamon in them, which adds so much more to the overall taste. These are amazing for s’mores too, if you decide to try them, I guarantee you’ll love them.


I did have a few little hiccups when making this cheesecake. The first, was that my cream cheese wasn’t completely softened. The second was that I took all of my ingredients and put them into a bowl and mixed them all together at once instead of mixing them separately. My end result was a lumpy filling with chunks of cream cheese. Thankfully it was easy to fix, I took a little bit of the filling at a time and blended it in my blender until it was smooth and creamy. The third thing I did, was I forgot to grease my pan, which isn’t the end of the world when working with a graham cracker crust because the butter in it greases the pan on it’s own, but if I had greased the pan beforehand it would have been easier to cut the cheesecake and remove it from the pan. Unlike cooking, baking is a science, and with some things you have to follow all of the steps. Something that I love about creating recipes, is that I get to share with you the mistakes that I have made so that you don’t make them too. There is always a lesson to be learned when you make a mistake while baking, for example, I learned that when I have chunks of cream cheese in my filling, I can just put it into the blender and it will completely fix it.



Let’s talk about the graham cracker crust. Like I talked about before, I used Pamela's Honey Grahams for all of my graham cracker crusts, they are hands down the best gluten-free graham crackers I have ever had. I always use the method of putting my graham crackers into a ziplock bag and then crushing them with either my hands or a cup. This is a super easy method, but if you have a food processor, I would suggest you use that. Once you crush up the graham crackers, go ahead add the butter and sugar and mix it together. Then press it onto your greased cheesecake pan, I use a spoon to flatten it, so that it’s evenly spread across the pan. Once you’re done with that, bake it at 300 degrees until it’s a beautiful golden brown color, it will take about eight to ten minutes, make sure you check it periodically so that it doesn’t burn.




Now let’s talk about the filling. I’ve already shared the mistakes I made above, but now I want to talk about why you should follow all of the steps. The first thing that you should always do, is make sure that all of your ingredients are room temperature. This makes it easier to mix everything together, and ensures that you won’t have a lumpy cheesecake. The second thing is, do not mix everything together at once. Always mix the cream cheese with sugar first, and then add your other ingredients. This also ensures that everything mixes together smoothly. The last thing I want to talk about, is how important it is to allow your cheesecake to cool. Once you take it out of the oven, let it cool for at least 20 minutes before putting it in the refrigerator. If you don’t give it some time outside of the oven before putting it in the refrigerator, it will most likely crack. Cheesecakes almost always crack when they from one extreme temperature difference to another. After you put it in the refrigerator, let it cool for at least 2 hours, so that it will be firm and not fall apart when you remove slices. I would suggest you try to give it closer to five hours, or overnight. If you are serving a cheesecake the day that you make it, try to make it earlier in the day, so that it will have plenty of time to cool. It takes about 2 hours to prepare and bake the cheesecake, and then 2-3 hours to cool it, if you make it at least 7 hours before it will be served, it should be perfectly cooled.






Filling Ingredients


24 ounces of room temperature cream cheese

1 cup of granulated sugar

3 tbsp of gluten-free all-purpose flour

4 large room temperature eggs

1 15 ounce can of pure pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

¼ cup sour cream

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 ½ tbsp pumpkin pie spice mix

¼ tsp ginger


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

  2. In a large bowl mix together softened cream cheese, sugar and flour until smooth.

  3. Add pumpkin, sour cream, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix until well combined.

  4. Add the eggs one at a time.

  5. Pour the filling into the graham cracker crust.

  6. Bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes.

  7. After baking for 1 hour and 40 minutes, insert knife or toothpick into the middle of the cheesecake, when it comes out clean, the cheesecake is done.

  8. Let it cool on the counter for 20-30 minutes, then put it into the refrigerator and let it cool for at least 2-4 hours, preferably overnight, or until firm.

  9. Garnish with whipped cream.



Crust Ingredients


1 ½ cups crushed gluten-free graham crackers

5 tablespoons of melted butter

⅓ cup of sugar


Instructions

  1. Grease the cheesecake pan with oil or butter.

  2. Crush the graham crackers.

  3. Mix together the crushed graham crackers, butter and sugar.

  4. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the cheesecake pan, until it’s spread evenly.

  5. Bake the crust at 300 degrees for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes before pouring in the filling.

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