Photograph by Hillary Berkowitz Nussbaum
I’ve mastered my family’s desserts, from the flourless chocolate roll to the sour cream coffee cake, but my husband’s favorite — cheesecake — always escaped me. I couldn’t let it go, and finally mastered it by sticking to my new strategy: Rather than tackling the tried-and-true, I put my own new twist on an old favorite.
This recipe blends the flavors of fall with a more standard Oreo cheesecake, with delightful result. When I served it up recently, my other half declared it “awesome” (though my mother — predictably — went for the flourless chocolate cake instead).
For the crust:
24 finely crushed Oreos
2 tablespoons melted butter
For the filling:
Two 8-ounce packages room-temperature cream cheese
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large room-temperature eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
12 crushed Oreos (can be larger chunks)
1) Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
2) Grease a 9-inch springform pan, or cover a traditional 9-inch cake pan in parchment paper. (Grease the paper and leave the ends hanging over the pan a bit. You’ll use these to pull the cake up and out of the pan.)
3) Toss the 24 crushed Oreos with the melted butter until lightly coated, then press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form the crust. Set aside.
4) Combine the sugar and spices in a small bowl.
5) Beat the cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Continue mixing, and slowly add the sugar mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, beat well, leaving about 30 seconds between each egg. Add the pumpkin, continue mixing until well combined.
6) Evenly pour half the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the crumbles from the 12 crushed Oreos in a layer over the top, then evenly pour in the remaining pumpkin mixture.
7) Place pan on the center rack in the oven, with another pan half full of water on the oven’s bottom rack (to keep the oven moist). Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cheesecake comes out clean, and the center of the cake jiggles slightly (like gelatin). Let the cake cool, then refrigerate at least a few hours before serving.
Hillary Berkowitz Nussbaum is a freelance writer who likes to cook her way through writer’s block.