Sometimes I come across a recipe on the web that is just so incredibly delicious that I just have to share it. This French pumpkin cheesecake is one of those recipes.
French Pumpkin Cheesecake
I’ve probably made this recipe at least 3 times within the last 2 weeks. Even though this isn’t my original recipe, I did dream it up before I knew it existed.
You see, classic New York cheesecakes are fairly dense. They’re usually made with eggs and baked in a bain-marie (water bath), then chilled until they’re completely cool and firm.
French cheesecakes, however, tend to be much lighter and mousse-like in consistency. I adore French cheesecakes for that very reason.
When I stumbled upon this recipe, I was looking for ideas on how to achieve the consistency of French cheesecake.
When I came across a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake, I immediately had an “aha” moment. Why of course, a no-bake cheesecake would be much lighter indeed.
So I tried the recipe as directed with plans to taste-test and alter to achieve perfect French cheesecake perfection. But after one bite of this French pumpkin cheesecake, I just couldn’t fathom changing a thing!
The only aspect of this dessert that I contributed to was the graham cracker crust (the original recipe used a gingersnap crust). But the actual cake batter was everything I had hoped for.
Light and creamy, this French pumpkin cheesecake will melt on your warm tongue within a second. Since the pumpkin and cream cheese have been whipped into a fluffy and airy consistency, it’s no surprise that it’s so light. The sweetened whipped cream that’s folded into the batter also doesn’t hurt the cake’s cloud-like consistency.
With normal cheesecake, I find that I can only eat half a slice before my palate feels heavy and overwhelmed. That is not the case with this French pumpkin cheesecake. I ate up my slice in a jiffy and couldn’t wait to dive back in for another.
I think my sister summed it up best when she described French mousse, which I find comparable to this cake, “It’s basically all air, so no harm done, right?” Yeah, Sis, no harm done whatsoever!
French Pumpkin Cheesecake
A light-as-air, no-bake cheesecake flavored with pumpkin for a fall twist.
for the crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
for the cake
- 8 oz. cream cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sweetened whipped cream homemade or store-bought, plus more for topping
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grab a tart pan, 9-inch pie dish, or a 6-inch cake pan. (If you use the cake pan, make sure to line it with a large sheet of parchment paper - large enough that it comes up the sides of the pan and over the rim - for easy removal of dessert).
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter together until everything is well-combined and all the crumbs are moist. Pour this mixture into your chosen pan. Use a rubber spatula or a flat-bottom glass to pack the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and smooth it out. If using a pie dish, you can pack some of the crumbs along the sides of the pan as well.
Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and let the crust completely cool.
Create your cheesecake batter by beating the cream cheese with the pumpkin, sugar, spices, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until you’ve achieved a mousse-like consistency and the batter is a light orange color - about 1 minute.
Fold in the 1/2 cup of sweetened whipped cream using a rubber spatula. Fold until there are no white streaks apparent.
Pour the batter over the cooled crust, using your spatula to evenly distribute and smooth out the batter. Pipe remaining whipped cream out on top of cheesecake using a pastry bag, or simply smooth all over the top using a spoon or offset spatula.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for 4 to 6 hours until chilled.
To create your own sweetened whipped cream, whisk 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Then fold in a 1/2 cup of the whipped cream into the batter, and use the remaining whipped cream to garnish the top of the cake.