Pumpkin White Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

I’ve been conducting my own personal competition for the best new Thanksgiving dessert to serve this holiday.  And the winner is this dreamy, creamy, absolutely frantastic pumpkin white chocolate mousse cheesecake.

Of course, I’ll be making several other tried and true desserts for Thanksgiving although I haven’t decided on exactly which ones yet—there are so many we have enjoyed through the years.  We almost always have homemade apple pie with cinnamon ice cream (which reminds me that I have yet to post these two recipes).  I always have a loaf of date nut bread which we enjoy leading up to Thanksgiving—it’s a family favorite and was a particular favorite of my mom.  Cranberry-orange nut loaf is perfect for this time of year (also not posted yet).  Then there’s Roger’s favorite pie, a pecan pie I’ve made forever—and, of course, I have to add to the list the best sweet potato pie I’ve ever had.  Another great recipe is for melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin bars.  Can’t forget pumpkin cake roll either!  So many recipes, so little time to squeeze them all in.

Despite having a very long list of holiday recipes from which to choose, I always enjoy the hunt for a new recipe to add to my favorites.  Once I put a forkful of this absolutely delicious pumpkin cheesecake with its white chocolate mousse topping and cinnamon graham cracker crust, it was a no-brainer to add this newcomer to my holiday favorites list of recipes.

Ethereal is the perfect way to describe it.  Even when chilled, this cheesecake with its mousse topping is unbelievably light—not calorically light, mind you, but you won’t care.  The texture is not dense and heavy as is the nature of most cheesecakes but sensuously light on your tongue.  It’s just a whole lot of yum with every bite.

I know it’s always challenging to find enough room in your fridge for all the holiday food items that require refrigeration; but, if you like pumpkin and you like cheesecake, do make room for this–it’s quite frantastic!

One year ago:  Fran’s Almond Tassies

Two years ago:  Cappuccino Brownies

Three years ago:  Baby Cupcakes

Pumpkin White Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

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Ingredients for Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 14 rectangle crackers)
  • 2 tbl. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 8 tbl. butter, melted

Ingredients for Cheesecake

  • 3 (8 oz. each) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3 tbl. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée or about 2 cups if using homemade (Do not use pumpkin pie filling with spices already included.)

Ingredients for White Chocolate Topping

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbl. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz. white chocolate, melted

Directions

For the crust, preheat the oven to 375o  F.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir in the melted butter and mix until combined and it looks like wet sand.  Press the crumbs into the bottom and just a bit up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan.  To help prevent thick corners between the bottom and sides of the pan, I use a glass with a flat bottom to press into the corners.

Place the springform pan on a foil-lined larger baking pan and bake for about 8 minutes until the crust is just lightly golden and smells fragrant.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Reduce the heat to 350o F.

For the cheesecake batter, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer), whip together the cream cheese and sour cream until just combined.  Add the cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and mix until incorporated.  Mix in the vanilla and pumpkin until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly over the crust and bake (keeping the pan still on the foil-lined baking sheet; helps prevent any leaking butter/batter from dirtying your oven) for 45-60 minutes, until the edges are set and the center slightly jiggles.  Let the cheesecake cool completely.

For the white chocolate topping, in a medium bowl, beat the cream and vanilla with an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer) until soft peaks form.  Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix until combined and the peaks are slightly stiffer.  In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add the white chocolate and mix until smooth and creamy.  Fold in the whipped cream, taking care not to deflate the whipped cream, and mix gently with a rubber spatula, lifting and turning the cream, until the mousse is combined and creamy.

Spread the white chocolate topping on top of the cooled cheesecake.  Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or up to a day.  Garnish with a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg, if desired.

Fran’s Notes

In Mel’s original notes, she indicated that she has made this cheesecake in a 9″ springform pan.  Personally, I’d be too chicken to try it.  My 10″ springform pan was pretty much full to the top.  I have several recipes which call for a 10″ springform pan, so I get full use out of it and am glad I have it in my baking pan inventory.

The cheesecake itself is gluten free.  To keep it totally gluten free, I used gluten-free graham cracker crumbs.

Source:   Another great recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Café

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