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Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Chef Ethan Howard. Photo: Kodiak Greenwood
From: Pastry Chef Ethan Howard, Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA.

Chocolate Crust:
1 cup chocolate shortbread or wafer crumbs
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ tsp. salt

Cheesecake Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
1 tsp. salt
24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
1½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 Tbsp. cream
1 tsp. vanilla
6 oz. melted semisweet chocolate, slightly warm

For crust: Stir cookie crumbs, sugar, butter and salt together. Press crumb mixture evenly over bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Chill for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake chocolate crust for 20 minutes. Let cool.

For filling: Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on high speed until creamy and smooth. At medium speed, add eggs, pumpkin, cream and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Add sugar mixture and melted chocolate; mix well. Remove bowl and with a spatula mix again, making sure to scrape the bottom. Pour filling into crust, smoothing the top. Place springform pan into larger baking pan filled with water so it comes halfway up springform sides. Place in oven; turn temperature down to 300°F. Bake until center is set, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan. Then cover with foil or plastic wrap. Chill at least 3 hours. Bring cheesecake to room temperature to serve.

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