Pumpkin Spice Frangelico Cheesecake Recipe | What’s Cooking
In this Thanksgiving edition of What’s Cooking, Nordstrom Blog Editor Jeff bakes a luscious pumpkin-spice and Frangelico cheesecake with a hazelnut crust from the Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook. It’s a make-ahead dessert worthy of a place at any Thanksgiving table.
With another simple-to-follow recipe developed by our corporate chef, Michael Northern, and his small army of chefs and contributors, Jeff proves (with his photographic evidence) that you don’t have to be a professional chef to transform beautiful ingredients into irresistible food that’s meant to be shared with family and friends.
While my fondness for cheesecake is exceeded perhaps only by that of The Golden Girls, I have never made one myself before now. So I’ll confess, the pictured results are no testament to any great experience on my part. Rather, I attribute this flawless slice of delight to the direct and simple steps in our chef’s tried and tested recipe. You’re in good hands when making this foolproof looker for your Thanksgiving table—it’s sure to be accompanied by looks of impressed anticipation from every guest at your holiday celebration.
This may be an updated alternative to traditional pumpkin pie, but the flavors of this pumpkin cheesecake are everything you’d expect in a Thanksgiving dessert. A warm combination of spices, crunchy toasted hazelnuts and, of course, the pumpkin—sweetly balanced by the brown sugar and Frangelico, which enriches everything with a note of nutty maple. The Frangelico Sour Cream topping takes this cake to another level: It adds a perfect polish to the finished dessert, and it envelops every bite in a silky texture that’s accompanied by an unexpected (but very welcome), subtly sweet tang.
Pumpkin Frangelico Cheesecake
from the Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook
(serves 10 to 12)
“Deciding on a menu for Thanksgiving dinner challenges the cook who wants to blend tradition with exploration. This cheesecake plays on the classic pumpkin-for-dessert theme but twists the tradition away from pie. Unlike a pumpkin pie, which tastes best the day it is baked, this pumpkin cheesecake can be made several days ahead and refrigerated. This is a boon to the busy Thanksgiving cook.
“For those not familiar with Frangelico liqueur, it is a hazelnut-flavored liqueur, enhanced by a secret formula of flower and berry essences. Its flavor is a delightful complement to the pumpkin and all the sweet spices in this cheesecake.” —Nordstrom Corporate Chef Michael Northern
Hazelnut Graham Cracker Crust
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 25 crackers)
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
Pumpkin Frangelico Filling
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Frangelico liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (15 ounces) unsweetened pumpkin purée
To make the Hazelnut Graham Cracker Crust, preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 10-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
Toast the hazelnuts by spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet and toasting in a 375°F oven until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. In a bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and chopped hazelnuts. Stir in the remaining 7 tablespoons of butter until the mixture is evenly moistened. Press the crumbs firmly onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake until the crust is crisp and set, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
To make the Pumpkin Frangelico Filling, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, brown sugar, Frangelico, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and process until smooth and thoroughly combined. Add the pumpkin purée and process until the mixture is light, about 1 minute. (If using an electric mixer, add and mix the ingredients in the same order, using high speed and stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.) Carefully pour the batter into the prebaked crust.
Bake the cheesecake until the edges are puffed and somewhat separated from the pan, yet the center appears to be soft but not too wet, 60 to 70 minutes. At this point, turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar with the cheesecake inside to continue setting up for about 1 hour.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely in the pan. Cover and refrigerate until cold, several hours or overnight.
Frangelico Sour Cream Topping
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Frangelico liqueur
To make the Frangelico Sour Cream Topping, preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, granulated sugar, and Frangelico until well blended and smooth. Pour the topping over the top of the cheesecake and use a rubber spatula to smooth the surface. Bake for 10 minutes to set the topping.
To serve, remove the sides from the springform pan and transfer the cake to a serving plate. To cut, dip the knife in hot water before cutting each slice, and wipe the knife clean after each cut.
Download a PDF of this recipe to print it, and find more tempting dishes in our Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook. Have a favorite recipe from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!
[Photos by Jeff Powell]