Mike’s Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cranberry Gelée

Along with my favorite Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie, another holiday dessert I have made a couple years in a row is this Pumpkin New York Cheesecake with a Cranberry Gelée topping. The recipe (and photo) comes from one of my friends from high school.  Mike shared: “I had the plain Cheesecake recipe ever since my first job in 8th grade as a busboy. It is still to this day my favorite cheesecake. It lends itself to flavor variations quite well, but for my money, you just can’t beat the pumpkin variety.”

Pumpkin New York Cheesecake with Cranberry Gelée Recipe

Makes two cakes: Divide everything in half for one.

CRUST:
8 cups ground cinnamon graham crackers
3 sticks melted butter

Add butter to crumbs until mixture molds in your fist. Then press evenly into 2 buttered 9” spring form pans. Bake 10 minutes at 375° F.

FILLING:

Soften 3 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese. Beat cream cheese together with 3/4 cups sugar until fluffy.

ADD:
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup sour cream
MIX WELL.

IN SEPARATE BOWL:
Mix:
One large can of pre-seasoned pumpkin pie filling
5oz evaporated milk
2 eggs
Increase spice as desired, remembering that the cheesecake will dilute the flavor a bit.

COMBINE FILLINGS

POUR into graham cracker crusts

BAKE at 350° until center is firm.
(Note: Baking in a water bath will prevent the top from drying out and cracking.)

LET COOL completely.

Topping
Cranberry Gelee Topping for Pumpkin Cheesecake

2 Cups Fresh Cranberries
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
A sprinkling of fresh orange peel zest
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries with 1/2 cup water and cook over moderate heat until they begin to pop, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine sieve. Rinse out the saucepan.

Add the sugar and 1/4 cup of water to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until dissolved. Stir in the orange juice and strained cranberry puree. Let cool.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water, and let stand until softened, 5 minutes. Microwave for 10 seconds or until completely melted. Stir to make sure it’s smooth, and then whisk the gelatin into the cranberry mixture, and pour over the cake; shake it gently to even out.

Refrigerate until set, at least one hour and up to two days.

Remove cake from fridge 10 – 15 minutes before serving. Tastes better when it’s not quite so cold.