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.
While the French do make cheesecake, it tends to be much lighter and mousse-like in consistency. In fact, that’s why I call this pumpkin cheesecake “French pumpkin cheesecake” (even though the French definitely do not bake with pumpkin like Americans do).
That mousse-like texture is trés French to me, and is named in the same spirit as French silk pie.
When I stumbled upon the original recipe for this cheesecake, I was looking for ideas on how to achieve the consistency of a mousse-like cheesecake.
Coming across this 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 creamy perfection. But after one bite of what I now call 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!
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.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342