Our Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce is an indulgent twist on our old Thanksgiving favorite. Take a respite from the beloved pumpkin pie and serve up a crowd-pleasing, family wowing dessert!
Preheat oven to 325°F/163°C. Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
Measure out and combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes, then set aside to cool
Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in. Set the prepared pan aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F/149°C
In a heavy saucepan, over medium-high heat, stir the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and Kosher sea salt together. Cook stirring frequently allowing the mixture to bubble gently. Until thicked caramelized in color and shiny, about 5 minutes.
Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, scraping the sides of the pan. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, ensuring mixture is well combined. Add the cubed room temp cream cheese and all-purpose flour. Beat on medium until combined and smooth, with no cream cheese lumps visible.
Add the cold cream and mix well, then add the eggs one at a time. Combining well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined. Be sure to overbeat!
Pour the cheesecake batter evenly into the crust. Place the springform pan inside another larger pan. Fill the outside pan with very hot water about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Making sure the water does not go over the top of the aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The center should be set, but still jiggly about 3-4” from the center. Turn off the oven and leave the door closed for 30 minutes. The cheesecake will continue to cook, but also slowly cools down.
Crack the oven door for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to continue to cool gradually. This process helps prevent cracking.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven, and remove the aluminum foil. Set on a rack to finish cooling completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
In a 3 quart saucepan combine the water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir with a fork until syrup comes to a boil, about 4 minutes, simmer without stirring until syrup is honey-colored, roughly 5-6 minutes, swirling the pan over the burner as needed to ensure even caramelization. (If you want a deeper flavored caramel bring the mixture just past the point of a golden amber color while swirling. the deeper the caramel color the deeper the flavor. If it burns, start over.)
Continue cooking until syrup is light to medium amber, a minute more. Immediately add cream and reduce heat to medium-low. ( it will foam and sputter)
Stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula to knock back the foam, simmer until caramel registers 225°F (107°C) on a digital thermometer, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a heat-resistant container, stir in vanilla extract (if using), and cool to room temperature. pour into a heat-resistant jar. Caramel will thicken as it cools.
Remove the outer ring from the springform pan. If moving to a serving platter, slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide the cheesecake onto the platter. You can also leave on the cheesecake on the bottom of the springform pan. If the cheesecake is damp, daub it with a paper towel.
Allow the cheesecake to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then slice. Warm up the caramel sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a little cream if it's become too thick. Drizzle the caramel sauce over each slice and serve.