The City Magazine Since 1975

Pumpkin Chai Cheesecake

November 2020
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For the crust:
    1½ cups Biscoff cookie crumbs (23 cookies)
    6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
    2 Tbs. ground cardamom
    1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
    2 tsp. ground ginger
    1 tsp. ground cloves
    4 (8-oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened
    1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
    1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
    1/4 cup sour cream
    5 large eggs, room temperature
    2 Tbs. cornstarch
    1/4 tsp. table salt 
    1 Tbs. vanilla extract

For the chai whipped cream:
    2 cups whipping cream
    2 Tbs. granulated sugar
    1 Tbs. spice mixture (reserved from making filling)
    1 tsp. vanilla extract


Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a nine-inch springform pan with cooking spray. 

For the crust: 

Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for eight minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

For the filling: 

Stir together the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside one tablespoon for the chai whipped cream.

Combine the cream cheese and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until creamy. Scrape down the bowl. Add the pumpkin and sour cream and beat until smooth. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl and beating until the yellow disappears after each addition. Add three tablespoons of the spice mixture, the cornstarch, salt, and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. (This will help prevent water from leaking in once the pan is placed in the water bath.) Place the pan in a large roasting pan or pan with high sides. Pour the filling over the crust. Add hot water to the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for one hour and 15 minutes to one hour and 20 minutes, or until the top is browned and the cheesecake is set. (It should wobble like Jell-O when the pan is tapped.) Turn the oven off, crack the oven door open with the handle of a wooden spoon, and let the cheesecake stand in the oven for one hour.

Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan, carefully remove the aluminum foil, and place the cheesecake in the springform pan on a wire rack. Let it cool to room temperature, about two hours. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate for at least eight hours or overnight. 

After the cheesecake chills, run a thin-bladed knife around the edges to release the crust from the sides of the pan. Open the clamp and carefully expand the sides of the pan and release the bottom. Use a large metal spatula or cake lifter to transfer the cheesecake to a cake stand or platter.

For the chai whipped cream: 

Combine the whipping cream, sugar, reserved spice mixture, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Spoon your desired amount of whipped cream over the top of the cheesecake (or dollop onto individual slices), garnish as desired, and serve. Any leftover whipped cream can be covered and refrigerated for up to three days.