Real Texas Fresh Pumpkin Cheesecake with Crunchy Pecan Topping

by Ramona Werst on September 18, 2015

No Gravatar

Real Texas Fresh Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Crunchy Pecan Topping




Pumpkin Puree

Fresh Pumpkin (large enough for 4 cups of puree, you can freeze the rest for another recipe)
2 teaspoons Lemon Zest
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground Ginger


I used Gingerbread Cookies that I had in the freezer, but you can make a traditional Graham Cracker Crust.

2 packages Graham Crackers
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 sticks unsalted Butter, melted


4 cups fresh Pumpkin puree
2 cups Sugar
6 large Eggs
4 (8 oz) packages, Cream Cheese, room temperature, and cut up into 1″ cubes
2 cups Sour Cream
2 tablespoons Vanilla Extract


1 cup Pecans, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons Maple syrup


Pumpkin Puree:  Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. (You can roast the seeds for a snack) Cut up the pumpkin into several large pieces.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for approximately 1 hour or until a fork can be inserted easily.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool until it can be handled.  Peel the skin from the pieces.  Place in a food processor and puree.

In a large skillet, measure 4 cups of the pumpkin and save the rest for other recipes.  Add the pumpkin puree, lemon zest, cinnamon and ginger.  Stirring frequently over medium heat until most of the moisture is evaporated and the puree is fragrant.  Approximately 10-15 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Crust: In a food processor, break the graham crackers and pulse until a fine crumb texture.  Add the melted butter and salt and pulse to combine.  Transfer into the bottom of a 12″ springform pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with oil. (I use a large springform pan for this recipe)  Using the bottom of a flat cup, press the crust firmly into the bottom of the springform pan.

Bake at 350F degrees approximately 8 minutes or until crust is beginning to turn golden.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.


Place the room temperature cream cheese in a stand mixer bowl and add sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Add eggs 1 at a time and mix until each egg is combined. Add the pumpkin puree, and mix until combined.  Add sour cream and mix until combined.  Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

Pour into the cooled crust.

Take a piece of aluminum foil and wrap the bottom and 1/2 up the sides of the springform pan.  Set inside a baking sheet and fill with hot water but not above the foil. (You don’t want to get water in the springform pan)

Carefully place the cheesecake in the 305F degree oven and bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until the edges are firm and the middle still jiggles.  Turn off the oven and crack the door, leaving the cheesecake in the over for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven, remove the springform pan from the baking sheet and foil and put in the refrigerator overnight.

Topping:  In a skillet add the pecans and maple syrup.  Over medium heat stirring constantly, until the pecans are toasted and the syrup has almost completely reduced.  Remove from heat and spread out on parchment paper to cool.

The next day, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator.  Using a knife, run it along the sides to make sure is loosened from the springform pan.  Release the springform pan and remove.  Sliding a spatula between the parchment paper and the cheesecake, carefully loosen and transfer to a platter.

Sprinkle the Crunchy Pecan mixture on top of the cheesecake and press to secure the pecans into the cheesecake, but don’t mash them in too much.