When I was growing up, spiced pears, pumpkin rolls, and cheesecake were the staple foods of every girls’ night. Four generations of women read books, looked at magazines, and drank copious amounts of coffee in my nana’s little yellow kitchen in Eastern Kentucky. The strength at that small kitchen table stays with me even now. In honor of the women who raised me, I’m also sharing this Spiced Pumpkin and Pear Cheesecake—a lovely ode to autumns gone by.
2 8.8-ounce packages Lotus Biscoff cookies, finely ground, or 2¼ cups graham crackers, finely ground
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1½ sticks sweet cream butter (melted)
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup sour cream
Pear Rosette and Sauce
3 pears (your favorite variety)
¼ cup butter
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
A splash of water, if needed
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease the top of the paper as well. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine crushed cookies, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Stir until evenly moistened. Add mixture to the prepared springform pan and press it firmly up the sides and then into the bottom of the pan.
Bake the crust for ten to twelve minutes. Set aside and allow to cool. Prepare filling.
Add cream cheese, brown sugar, flour, and spices to your stand mixer. Mix on low until smooth. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Next, with the mixer still on low, add the pumpkin and sour cream. Mix until evenly incorporated. Add in each egg, one at a time. Mix until smooth, but be careful not to overmix.
Before pouring batter into your pan, you will need to prepare the pan for a water bath by wrapping the bottom sides with aluminum foil. Next, sit the pan on a sheet pan with a tall lip. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and place in the center of the oven. Carefully pour enough water to just cover the bottom of the sheet pan.
Bake for 70 to 75 minutes. The edges will look set but the center will still have a little jiggle. Make sure to keep an eye on the water bath throughout, adding more water as needed.
Turn the oven off, and crack the door about two inches. Allow cheesecake to sit in the oven for an hour before transferring to the fridge to set up overnight.
Once the cheesecake has set up in the fridge overnight, you can begin working on the pear topping.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add cinnamon and sugar to the melted butter and stir to incorporate. Add thinly sliced pears and cook until the pears have slightly softened. Stir occasionally. Once the pears have softened, remove them from the sauce and set aside to cool. Continue to cook sauce until thickened (about 5 minutes), then remove from heat.
Use the cooked pear slices to create the rosettes on the cheesecake. Start from the crust and make a circle, overlapping each pear as you add it. Work your way toward the center, overlapping each row slightly until you reach the middle. Tightly roll some of the thinnest pear slices for the center of the rosette. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and transfer it to your serving dish. Pour sauce over the rosette before serving and enjoy!