I love cheesecake, and I love fall, and I love being German. I decided to get crazy and combine these 3 loves for my German potluck and take a pumpkin cheesecake recipe and turn it into a German cheesecake recipe.
Changing baking recipes is always risky, at least for me anyway, so I was terrified. I think I held my breath the whole 3 hours it took to make. I know that sounds like a lot but it wasn't so bad. I was able to get a workout in while it baked and even some cleaning so if you're feeling the need to be productive, make this cheesecake!
It's one of the best cheesecakes I've ever had and I've had probably half of the cheesecakes available on the Cheesecake Factory menu. It's perfectly creamy and has a wonderful hint of fall flavors including pumpkin and cinnamon spices without being overpowering...mmm...my mouth is watering writing about this...
German Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from foodnetwork.com and allrecipes.com
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
2 3/4 cups sugar
2 pounds Quark (or 2 8 oz neaufchatel and 16 oz Quark), at room temperature (if you can't find it, learn how to make it here)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups sweetened whipped cream
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush a 10-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack, then wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil and place in a roasting pan.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, beat the quark (or cream cheese and quark) with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar and beat until just light, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt and the spices and beat until just combined. Pour into the cooled crust.
Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don't pull the rack out) and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, then carefully remove from the roasting pan and cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edges, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
Bring the cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Unlock and remove the springform ring. To finish, place a dollop of the whipped cream on each slice and sprinkle with powdered sugar and pumpkin spice.