I’ve always loved a good pumpkin pie. It never occurred to me that it could be considered weird until I had several Scandinavians and Europeans look at me funny when I mentioned pumpkin as a dessert. But, then they’re doubly impressed after tasting it. I even sent home a can of pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice with one of our Swedish friends one year, who in turn made one for her friends! Tor loves cheesecake: any time, anywhere, any kind. So, I thought, why not combine the two? A layer of creamy vanilla cheesecake sandwiched between a top layer of spicy pumpkin and a gingersnap crust. Yum.
355 ml (1 1/2 cups) finely ground gingersnap cookies
120 ml (1/2 cup) coarsely ground pecans
113 g (1/2 cup) butter, melted
225 g (8 oz) cream cheese
115 g (1/2 cup) sugar
1.25 ml (1/4 teaspoon) salt
half a vanilla bean
2 dl (generous 3/4 cup) thick crème fraiche
235 ml (1 cup) pumpkin purée; canned or homemade
175 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream
45 g (1/4 cup lightly packed) light brown sugar
5 ml (1 teaspoon) cinnamon
1.25 ml (1/4 teaspoon) nutmeg
a pinch of cloves
Preheat oven to 180C/355F. Combine crumbs and ground nuts. Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is evenly moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate or spring form. Bake for about 8 minutes, then remove from oven to cool.
Tip: After removing the crust from the oven, if it has melted down the sides, use some baking paper or wax paper to press it back up a little while it’s still hot.
Turn the oven up to 220C/425F.
Put the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke it for about 15 seconds. Whisk it until smooth, then add the sugar and salt and stir. Add the egg and stir until it’s incorporated. Slice the vanilla bean in half, and scrape the seeds directly into the cream cheese mixture and stir. Gently stir in the crème fraiche with a rubber spatula.
In a new bowl, combine the pumpkin and cream with a whisk. Add the brown sugar and eggs, and stir to combine. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and stir to combine.
Pour the cheesecake mixture into the crust, and gently smooth it until even. Gently spoon the pumpkin mixture over top, then very gently smooth it until even. Turn the oven back down to 180C/350F, and bake for 50-60 minutes. Put foil around the edges at around 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.
Cool completely before serving.