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Pumpkin Spice Swirl Cheesecake with Candied Walnuts

Wow your guests this Thanksgiving season with my swirled pumpkin spice cheesecake.

Far easier to make than it looks, this elegant pumpkin spice cheesecake is perfect for the holidays

I originally found the recipe in a magazine (for the life of me I can't remember which one) about fifteen years ago. After it was a big hit one Thanksgiving, I started making it a holiday tradition.

It's nice because you can make it up to two days in advance and keep it refrigerated until you're ready to serve. And the swirls on top even look like autumn leaves!

After we began to raise our own chickens and I realized that the fresh eggs make any cheesecake so much richer and tastier, this recipe became a keeper at our house and a holiday favorite. In fact, my Mom STILL talks about the first time I made it! She loved it that much.

Each year I seem to tweak the recipe just a bit, so my current recipe is quite a bit different than the original recipe I began with all those years ago - but's it's always well received.

Ingredients forPumpkin spice swirl cheesecake with candied walnuts

(scroll down for printable recipe card)

Pumpkin Spice Swirl Cheesecake with Candied Walnuts

For the Cheesecake

4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1-1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 24- 2" round cookies)
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or an equal amount of vanilla extract)
3 large fresh eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (homemade or store bought)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and set a teakettle full of water to boil.

Butter a 9" spring form pan and wrap two layers of foil around the outside.

Combine the butter and gingersnap crumbs, stir to coat evenly and press them into the bottom of the pan.Chill until ready to use.

With a stand mixer (I love my KitchenAid!) on medium-low, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar and cornstarch until smooth.

Beat in the sour cream and vanilla bean paste, and then the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Pour half the batter into a medium bowl and set aside.

Into the remaining batter mix the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, molasses and spice.  Set aside one cup of the pumpkin batter.

Spread half of the pumpkin batter over the crust.

Top that with half the plain batter, then the remaining half of pumpkin batter and the remaining plain batter to make layers. Dot the reserved cup of pumpkin batter over the top and with a toothpick swirl the batters to create your design.

Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan and fill the pan partway with boiling water, making sure not to fill above the foil.(The water bath will keep your cheesecake from drying out, splitting or cracking on top).

Bake the cheesecake for about an hour and 10 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake jiggles only slightly when you gently tap the side.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place on a wire rack.Run a knife around the edge to loosen it and allow to cool.When completely cooled, remove the side of the spring form pan and chill your cheesecake several hours (or overnight).

When ready to serve, garnish with candied walnuts (see recipe below) and whipped topping.

gingersnap cookie crust in foil-wrapped springform pan

Beating cream cheese in stand mixer

Adding egg to batter in stand mixer

mixing pumpkin into cheesecake batter

dollops of pumpkin batter on cheesecake

swirled pumpkin batter in pan

cheesecake in springform pan

adding water to roasting pan under cheesecake

cheesecake in water bath in oven

overhead view of cheesecake

Pumpkin spice swirl cheesecake

Pumpkin spice swirl cheesecake with candied walnuts

For the Candied Walnuts

1 cup walnuts (whole or pieces is fine)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons brown sugar

In a heavy cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the walnuts and brown sugar and toss to mix well.

Continue to cook, stirring constantly for several minutes, until the sugar caramelizes and the walnuts start to smell 'nutty'. Remove the nuts to a piece of parchment paper to cool.

Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and garnish with the candied walnuts and some whipped cream just prior to serving.

melting butter in cast iron skillet

adding brown sugar to melted butter

candied walnuts

candied walnuts on parchment paper

Pumpkin spice swirl cheesecake with candied walnuts

Close up of pumpkin spice swirl cheesecake with candied walnuts

Slicing pumpkin spice swirl cheesecake with candied walnuts

Slice ofPumpkin spice swirl cheesecake with candied walnuts

Slice of Pumpkin spice swirl cheesecake with candied walnuts

slice ofPumpkin spice swirl cheesecake with candied walnuts

NOTE:  Your chickens will love any leftover pumpkin puree. It's super healthy for them and the beta-carotene will make vibrant orange egg yolks!

This recipe has been excerpted from The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook (HarperCollins, 2022) available anywhere you buy your books.

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