Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel

I use a 10 inch spring form pan, but this is for a 9 inch one, which I think more people have. (if you want the 10 inch version leave a comment and I will get you the measurements)   Preheat oven at 350 degree’s.  I use a water bath method. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil, 2 sheets overlapping to form a T usually work well for me.  I also flip the pan bottom to the smooth underside.  It helps release the cake better from the bottom than the ridged side.  I use all organic, but if you want to save a little money, go conventional.  

For Crust

  • 1 1/2 C. crushed gluten-free gingersnap or ginger cookies (I use either Pamela’s or Mi-del cookies)
  • 1/2 C. finely chopped pecans
  • 1/3 C. butter, melted

For Cheesecake

  • 4 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 C. sugar or  turbinado sugar
  • 1 C. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. allspice
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

Salted Caramel 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon gray sea salt, crushed or kosher salt

For crust

Pulse the cookies and pecans in a food processor until well combined and the crumbs are uniform. Transfer to a medium bowl; add the melted butter. Combine thoroughly, first with a spoon and then with your fingers, until the mixture is evenly moist, crumbly, and holds together when you squeeze a handful. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Chill for 5 minutes and then bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.

For cheesecake

Heat a kettle of water. With an electric or stand mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Add this mixture to the cream cheese. Beat until well blended, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next, and scraping down the bowl after each. Blend in the vanilla and pumpkin.

Scrape the batter into the cooled crust.  Tap the pan gently once or twice on the counter to release any air bubbles. Set the pan in a larger baking dish (a roasting pan is good), and add enough hot water from the kettle to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the top of the cake looks deep golden and burnished and the center is set (the cake may just barely begin to crack), 1 hour 35 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. The cake will jiggle a little bit when tapped. The top may rise a bit but will settle as it cools. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a thin-bladed knife between the crust and the pan sides (this will prevent the cake from breaking as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill overnight.

For caramel

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.

*Cook’s Note: The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat before serving.