It’s October so let the pumpkin recipes begin!
I know, I know. I’m a little late to the game. Everyone else started baking with pumpkin in August (um, no friggin way). But honestly, I’m not THAT into pumpkin. It’s good. But it doesn’t really get my motor running the way some other foods do (like chocolate).
Side note: I have never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte in my life. Can you believe that?
It wouldn’t be fall without a few pumpkin recipes, so here I go. I realized it’s been a while since I’ve made cheesecake, so pumpkin cheesecakes seemed like the perfect way to start off my pumpkin baking season. I love to make individual sized cheesecakes because they are adorable and perfectly portion controlled (always a good thing). I topped them off with a little bourbon whipped cream and salted caramel sauce because that’s how I roll over here at Floating Kitchen! The recipe for the salted caramel sauce is the one from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. I’ve been making it for a while now and it’s hands down the best caramel sauce EVER. Seriously, I don’t think I’ll ever make another recipe.
I was originally planning to use gluten free graham crackers in the crust, but then I spied a box of Annie’s Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Bunny Cookies in the grocery store and decided to try them out. And they worked out perfectly in this recipe. If you are gluten intolerant, any type of gluten free graham cracker or spiced cookie would work well for the crust layer. And if you aren’t worried about gluten, you can certainly use regular graham crackers.
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecakes with Bourbon Whipped Cream and Salted Caramel
- For the Crust
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cups gluten free graham cracker or cookie crumbs
- 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix
- For the Cheesecake
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- For the Caramel Sauce
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- Sea salt
- For the Bourbon Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
- Make the crust layer. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, graham cracker/cookie crumbs and the pumpkin pie spice. Divide the mixture evenly between the lined muffin cups (I used about 1 tablespoon/cup) and press it down firmly into the bottom of the muffin cup. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- While the crust is baking, make the cheesecake layer. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, pumpkin pie spice and salt and beat until everything is well blended and there are no lumps. Divide the cheesecake mixture evenly into the muffin cups over the crust layer, using about 1/4 cup per well. The cups will be very full (that’s OK!). Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for 22-25 minutes. The cheesecake will have puffed up slightly and the centers should be almost set. Remove from the oven and set the cheesecakes aside to cool in their muffin tin. Once cooled to room temperature, transfer the cheesecakes to your refrigerator to chill for about 2 hours. The cheesecakes can be made up to 2-3 days in advance.
- Make the salted caramel sauce. Spread the sugar in the bottom of a heavy-bottom saucepan. Pour the water over the sugar and swirl the pan gently to moisten the sugar evenly with the water. Heat over medium-high heat. Allow the mixture to cook without stirring. It will bubble quite vigorously. If it’s not cooking evenly, you can gently swirl the pan, but you want to avoid stirring if possible. After 5-8 minutes, the mixture will turn a deep caramel color. Once it gets to this stage, quickly but carefully remove it from the heat. Whisk in the cubed butter. Then gradually whisk in the heavy cream until smooth. Stir in the sea salt, starting with just a pinch and adding more as necessary to suit your taste preferences. Once the sauce has cooled slightly, transfer it to a small container and store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. Re-warm slightly before serving.
- Make the bourbon whipped cream. Place the bowl of your stand mixer in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to chill. Remove it from the freezer and immediately add the heavy cream and start beating on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment. As it starts to thicken, add the powdered sugar. Continue to beat until peak forms. Add the bourbon and beat until it’s incorporated.
- To serve, top each cheesecake with a dollop of bourbon whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.