10. Pumpkin Cheesecakes with a Gingersnap Crust
(For the crust)
Oil for greasing the jars
3 cups gingersnaps, ground into crumbs
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom
3 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream or Greek-style yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
(For the topping)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Cinnamon, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease the bottoms and sides of sixteen 4-ounce jars or eight 8-ounce jars. Make the crust: In a medium-size bowl, mix together the gingersnap crumbs and melted butter until all of the crumbs are coated. Divide the crumb mixture evenly among the jars and use a wine cork or other small, flat-bottomed object to press down into the bottoms of the jars to form the crusts. Set aside.
2. Make the cheesecake: In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin puree. Add in the sugar and spices, and beat for 1 minute until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla. Spoon or pour the cheesecake filling over the crusts in the jars to ½ inch from the top.
3. Arrange the jars 2 inches apart in high-sided baking pans, such as 9 × 13-inch cake pans, with each pan lined with a clean kitchen towel. Place the pans with the jars in the oven and carefully add hot water to the pans to come halfway up the sides of the jars.
4. Bake the cheesecakes for 25 to 30 minutes, or just until their centers are almost set. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecakes and water to cool slowly in the oven for 20 minutes. When the cheesecake and water have cooled slightly, remove them carefully from the oven and remove the cheesecakes from the pans. Allow to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
5. Before serving, whip together the cream and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Spoon over the tops of the cheesecakes and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Serve cold.
From Desserts in Jars Recipe © 2013 by Shaina Olmanson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.