Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache

Garnish the cheesecake with Truffle Bugs for a festive Halloween dessert!


Makes one 9-inch cheesecake

For Caramel: 1 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Crust: 1 (9-ounce) package chocolate wafer cookies, such as Nabisco

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For Filling: 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

5 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon yellow food color gel

1/4 teaspoon red food color gel

4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped


Prepare caramel: Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in a deep, medium saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to a boil; cook, without stirring, until sugar is deep amber in color, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, about 9 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Cook, stirring constantly, until caramel dissolves and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Reserve 1/2 cup caramel for filling and 1 cup for ganache. Store any remaining caramel in a covered jar in the refrigerator for other uses.

Prepare crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Finely crush cookies in a food processor; add butter and process until blended. Press crumbs into bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap bottom and outside of pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Prepare filling: Combine cream cheese, sugars, flour, and pumpkin pie spice in a large mixing bowl; beat on medium speed just until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating them in at low speed just until blended. (Do not overbeat.) Add pumpkin and reserved 1/2 cup caramel; beat at low speed just until blended. Pour batter into springform pan; place pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until cheesecake barely jiggles in center when gently shaken, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Lift springform pan from water bath; place on wire rack to cool 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare ganache: Heat reserved 1 cup caramel in a small saucepan until almost simmering over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Let cool until thickened but still pourable. Remove sides of springform pan; use long metal spatulas to lift the cheesecake off the bottom of the pan and onto a serving plate. Refrigerate cheesecake until set, about 30 minutes. Decorate with Truffle Bugs.

To make Truffle Bugs, you’ll need a wooden skewer, unwrapped truffles (such as Lindt), black licorice ropes, cinnamon red hot candies, and 1 to 2 ounces of melted chocolate. Using the blunt end of the skewer, poke 6 holes in the side of each truffle where you would like to insert licorice legs. Unravel single strands of licorice and cut 6 legs to size; dip one end into the melted chocolate and gently push into the holes to make legs. Dip 2 red candies in melted chocolate and place on top of the truffle to form eyes. Let stand or refrigerate until melted chocolate is firm.

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