Pumpkin-Bourbon Cheesecake With Graham-Pecan Crust

Here’s an incredible fall dessert that is just perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. Two of my favorite desserts come together in this recipe-Pumpkin Pie and Cheesecake! A great alternative to pumpkin pie, especially for cheesecake lovers like me! 😀

Smooth and creamy bourbon spiked pumpkin cheesecake with a graham cracker-pecan crust is topped with a dollop of Brown Sugar and Bourbon Cream. If you are wanting to wow your guests this Thanksgiving, look no further than this pumpkin cheesecake!

Pumpkin-Bourbon Cheesecake With Graham-Pecan Crust

Yield: One-9inch cheesecake, serving 12 to 16


For the Crust:
3 ounces graham crackers (5 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 ounces pecans, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 can pumpkin (15 ounces)
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs, left at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup bourbon

For the Brown Sugar and Bourbon Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons bourbon


For the Crust: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse crackers, nuts, sugar, and spices in until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix until evenly moistened. Transfer the crumbs to the springform pan and use the bottom of a ramekin or glass to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the springform pan.
Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
For the Filling: Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside.
To dry pumpkin: Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in an even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed to break up and soften, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl with spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape down bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and bourbon and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.
Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours. Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
To make the Brown Sugar and Bourbon Cream:In bowl of standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk heavy cream, sour cream, brown sugar, and salt until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve cheesecake, at least 4 hours or up to 24, stirring once or twice during chilling to ensure that sugar dissolves.
When ready to serve cheesecake, add bourbon and beat with whisk attachment at medium speed until small bubbles form around edges, about 40 seconds; increase speed to high and continue to beat until fluffy and doubled in volume, about 1 minute longer.
To Serve: Slide a thin spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges, top with a dollap bourbon cream and serve.

Recipe Note:
Depending on the oven and the temperature of the ingredients, the cheesecake may bake about 15 minutes faster or slower than the instructions indicate; it is therefore best to check the cake 1 1/4 hours into baking.

Source: Cook's Illustrated, November 2003

One Year Ago: Classic Macaroni and Cheese 

18 Responses to “Pumpkin-Bourbon Cheesecake With Graham-Pecan Crust”

  1. #
    Kate — November 16, 2011 @ 7:21 am

    ive been seeing the combo of pumpkin & bourbon a lot lately and love the idea, this looks delicious!!

  2. #
    Paula Filley LacKamp — November 16, 2011 @ 8:07 am

    This recipe has replaced our pumpkin pie over the last few years. It’s delicious!!!

  3. #
    ChgoJohn — November 16, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    This looks like a great piece of pie and a wonderful use for that bottle of bourbon. Yum!

  4. #
    Chica Andaluza — November 16, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    Mm, love cheesecake – this is a new flavour combo to me but sounds great!

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  6. #
    Michael Ann Riley — November 16, 2011 @ 9:58 am

    Saving this one!!! It looks amazing!

  7. #
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — November 16, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    Well you know I’m on board with bourbon. This looks fantastic!

  8. #
    Fresh and Foodie — November 16, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    Ohhh, yes! Bourbon and pumpkin! This sounds awesome.

  9. #
    Mandy@Withmilkandflour — November 16, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    This cheesecake sounds delicious and festive! Like the sound of the pecan-graham cracker crust too.

  10. #
    Rach @ This Italian Family — November 16, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

    That looks completely delicious!

  11. #
    The Café Sucré Farine — November 17, 2011 @ 5:20 am

    I wish I could pick up that fork and pop just that one piece in my mouth – but then I’m sure no one could stop at one piece! It looks fabulous and I love the bourbon cream, yum!

  12. #
    Sandra — November 22, 2011 @ 6:29 am

    Great boozy dessert!

  13. #
    Michelle — November 23, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

    Can you use just pumpkin pie filling? Is there a difference between pumpkin pie filling and just pumpkin in a can? If I use pumpkin pie filling can I skip the draining? HELP!

    • Christina replied: — November 23rd, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

      Pumpkin pie filling has added spices and sugar where the pumpkin puree is just 100% pumpkin with nothing added. I have not tried this recipe using the pumpkin pie filling. You would just have to adjust the spices and sugar accordingly. I would still dry the pumpkin on paper towels as directed. You don’t want to have any extra moisture in the filling as it might make the crust soggy. If you give it a try I would love to hear how it turns out for you! :)

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  15. #
    Jenn @therebelchick — October 21, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    This just looks amazing!

  16. #
    Rob — November 21, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

    I made this for Thanksgiving at my partners house tomorrow (he’s doing the dinner, I’m bringing dessert!), and I obviously had to try a piece myself to make sure it was suitable to serve – I could have finished the whole thing myself, it tasted awesome! I made it with pumpkin pie filling instead of the pumpkin puree, dried it as suggested and just held back on the added spices but kept the sugar the same. It turned out perfectly, although I had a little cracking due to not using a water bath. But some decorative bourbon cream should sort that out! Thank you for a great recipe – I’m also making some of your scones as an alternative dessert, just need to pick which one!

  17. #
    Sonya — November 18, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

    I love this cheesecake, too! Actually, I love most Cook’s Illustrated recipes – and any that I don’t are definitely just personal taste. They do such a good job with testing recipes and getting them just right! I made this last year for Thanksgiving, side by side with another recipe, and this one was everyone’s favorite. It was so good that I’m still dreaming about it a year later :0 And the brown sugar and bourbon cream was also lovely.

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