Gingerbread Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake (and Giveaway!)

I’ve got a million things to do before my family descends on Sunday, so this may be brief, but it will be festive because I am going to do my Santa Claus thing and give away not one, but two of these gorgeous Cuisinart™ Christmas Red, Elite Collection™ Metallic Series, 4-Cup Mini Chopper-Grinders. All you have to do to be in the running for one of these kick-butt, powerhouse of a mini food processor (Power Lock Blade, Auto-Reversing, Smart-Power Blade ™)  is to (of course) read the post, discover what day yours truly is going to be on Good Morning America, and then leave a comment telling me something about how you are going to spend that day!!

Here’s one desert I am making for the descending family. It’s my one desert answer to three other deserts, with two-thirds less work. It combines the spicy holiday flavors of pumpking pie and gingerbread cookies, with the creamy New York cheesecake heaven that everyone around here loves. I made a version of this for Good Morning America and brought it to the set on the day of taping (it was a pre-taped episode that will air on Christmas morning.) for everyone to taste. Don’t blink you may miss it as it whizzes by, but the recipe will be posted on the GMA Food Page on Here I am with the anchors, and guest host Mario Batali (thrilled!). They are holding up T-shirts I designed and gave them …but that is the subject for another post, since I couldn’t get them ordered in quantity in time for the holidays. So but more about those (there are three fun designs I’m dying to tell you about) in the future!

The segment I was in for the show highlighted winners of the National Gingerbread Competition that takes place at the gorgeous Grove Park Inn located in beautiful Asheville, NC. I was an invited judge for the competition and had the privilege to introduce the winning entrees on GMA. Then Mario Batali and I acted as “judges” for a quickie gingerbread decorating contest between the GMA anchors which was quite hilarious. Again, don’t blink. I was grateful for the opportunity to be included in the segment and to meet Iron Chef Batali.

Now back to the cheesecake. Here’s one I made at home as a test and test away we did!

That may look like an everyday graham cracker crust, but it is NOT! It’s made from these lovely ginger cookies, getting ready to be pulverized by the sturdy RED workhorse of a mini-chop. (Secret: I used Mi-Del Gluten-Free Gingersnaps for my personal cake, not the GMA one…and sustituted King Arthur All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix for the flour so I could FULLY enjoy it…but you go ahead and use regular gingerbread cookies, or gingersnaps and add the flour if Gluten is not your personal nemesis.) Can I just say here that I am not being asked or paid to promote these GF products. I am just saying what I used, to save myself from answering emails about it later! I will say that, for gluten-free, these gingersnaps have a lovely crumbly texture and a satisfying pop of ginger, that makes me slightly addicted to them.

The final cheesecake is lighter and fluffier than the denser NJ Diner Cheesecake I’ve posted in the past. This is due to the addition of the pumpkin, and the sour cream, which mitigates that palate hugging quality you get with all-cream-cheese cakes. Cooling this at room temperature, then in the fridge for at least 6 hours will let it set up well before serving. Otherwise you may end up with a too loose interior…so keep that in mind when planning how far ahead to make this. Even a couple of days ahead would be fine. Just cover it tightly with plastic wrap so it doesn’t take on the flavor of your leftovers.

You can’t tell from the top, but on inside you get this really dreamy, marble-ized look if you don’t over mix the white batter with the pumpkin batter…

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday week sharing stories and food and love across many tables, and through many delicious meals. xoxo Rachel

PS. Don’t forget to leave a comment below to enter the giveaway! Two people will be selected at random from the comments list to get this shiny present!


For the crust:
3 cups of gingerbread cookie crumbs (use whole cookies and grind to fine crumb in food processor)
9 tablespoons of butter, melted

For the filling:
1 cup plain pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature (5 block packages)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs

Special equipment: Springform Pan (10-inch would be optimal. Smaller than that and you’ll have batter left over.) Hand or stand mixer. Regular or mini food processor.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring two quarts of water to a simmer in tea kettle or other pot that will be easy to pour from. Make the crust: Combine the cookie crumbs with the melted butter. Place the crumb mixture inside the spring form pan and with your fingertips, gently and evenly press the crumbs down onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan to form a crust. Take care to make the thickness of the crust as even as possible.

  • Make the filling:  Place 1 cup of the pumpkin puree in a medium bowl. Stir in cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. Reserve.

  • Place the spring form pan on top of two layers of foil and tightly wrap the exterior of the pan. Put the cream cheese into the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a clean paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and flour, mixing until smooth and stopping to scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl to fully incorporate cream cheese that may get stuck on the bottom. Mix in sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, until just combined; try not to over mix and liquefy batter.

  • Stir 2 cups of the cream cheese mixture into spice pumpkin mixture; set aside. Pour remaining cream cheese mixture into prepared pan on top of the crust. Drop dollops of squash-cream cheese mixture on top. Gently swirl with a butter knife creating a “marble effect”.

  • Set the pan in a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Carefully pour enough of the simmering water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cheesecake. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, about 60 minutes (start checking at around 50 minutes, ovens and pans may vary cooking time). Turn off oven; let stand in oven with door slightly ajar 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Run a knife around sides of cake; unmold. When serving, have a sharp knife and a deep bowl of very hot water ready. Dip the knife in the water, wipe with a dry cloth, cut a slice. Then repeat that process with each cut and you will have cleanly sliced pieces.

37 responses to “Gingerbread Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake (and Giveaway!)”

  1. Claudia says:

    Hi Rachel, Tom & I will be in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with family (and yes I know it’s cold back there!). In case we miss you Xmas morning on GMA amid the rumble of our family’s 5-year-old twinsies and other present-opening kids, we have our Tivo set up back in L.A. Have a wonderful holiday with your family! — Claudia

  2. Taylor E. Gray says:

    Rachel I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!!! I should be moving into my new apt. soon and could really use a mini cuisine art, as I hope to start making some rum truffles for Easter. If you need another videographer, I’m your man! I wasn’t able to apply for the position that you had listed on the RVCC college job board in fall of 2012. Thats how I first learned about “Food/Fix/Kitchen! I wrote to you I have my Culinary Arts degree from Grossmont College-El Cajon,CA. and worked as my Mom’s personal Chef. May you have another fun and prosperous New Year, and I am looking forward to seeing your “Good Morning America” show!

  3. Hey Rachel, I’ll be avoiding the masses of relatives that embark to our familial Mecca by cooking and baking up a storm for the holiday festivities! Avoiding, in the sense that my cheeks can only take so much pinching and squeezing before I have an anuerysm! I hope your holidays are fun, light, and delicious! I’ll be cheering your name on GMA!


  4. cpduerr says:

    My mini processor is dying (sad) so a new one would be a wonderful gift! I will spend the day attempting to strike that delicate balance between cooking, entertaining, and relaxing. I never get it right, maybe this year I will! So happy for you and your spot on GMA!

  5. Larry Confino says:

    Since my kids watched you on Chopped. They have been feeling
    empowered to start cooking and experimenting themselves. In our never ending quest to feed their need to explore, we have been encouraging them to join in as we work in the kitchen while they are off from school. If we are lucky enough for this cooking-thing to catch on, perhaps it won’t be long before we can kick back and have them cook the holiday meals. I can dream, right?

    In order to make cool stuff, you of course need the right
    tools, so a new mixer chopper would be a welcome addition! Our current one is so tiny it can barely chop a single garlic clove. Ok so I am exaggerating a little bit. Being that we’re not going anywhere for the holidays we’ll be very busy fending off complaints about why we’re not on our way to Disneyworld, and so we’ll be tuned in for your appearance on Good Morning America. Congrats on another fun TV appearance!

    • Never, I say, never go to Disney on a school break. While they are young, take them out of school for 4 days sometime and go then. Later, when school gets too demanding you won’t be able to and they won’t want to…it’s a great place to experience at least once with your kids when they are young…but I’m impressed to hear about all the cooking you are doing with them…I love it!! Those are even better memories than Disney!

  6. juju says:

    Hi Rachel, I love GMA and I loved your Chopped episode so I can’t wait to see you on GMA. I watch it religiously so I’ll be looking for you. I just have a reliable food processor but its over 20 years old and I could use a mini-chopper. Happy Holidays!

  7. Brad A says:

    Rachel: The GMA episode sounds great – can’t wait to watch. You were amazing on Chopped! I’ve made your Pear Tarte Tatin with the rosemary for multiple dinner parties (the one you taught me at the cooking class featuring Mark Blackwell’s fine china!). But now this cheesecake will have to be a new addition to my roster! Enjoy the holidays!

  8. SadhviSez says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Oh, I just enjoy seeing you have so much fun. Mario Batalli. Good Morning America – congratulations on becoming a success! I will be sleeping in on Christmas morning. And I might not get out of bed the whole day because I am “Christmas-ed Out”. A lot of baking, as usual, and now, I can rest a bit.
    I hope I am one of the lucky ones to win that cool looking “4 cup Work Bowl”.
    Happy Holidays.

  9. Vivian D says:

    Hi Rachel, we love seeing you pop up evrywhere. You go girl. Love the recipes and love watching an elegant lady moving up in the culinary worlld. Mazel tov.

  10. Vivian D says:

    PS – iI could really use the food processor. Mine is big, clunky and ancient. One of the originals.

  11. Anna says:

    Sorry I won’t be able to watch you on GMA on Xmas Day, you know where I’ll be – at Rancho La Puerta, only one thing could make it better, if my favorite guest chef was there!

  12. Steve Eisler says:

    Hi Rachel, I look forward to seeing Christmas morning on gma. Lucky You and lucky them! I was recently in ashville and went to grove park too. What an outstanding building and setting. I’ll be cooking for family a fabulous brunch of some “perfect eggs”-scrambled with cream cheese chives and a little curry powder,sweet potato hash, rye toast, fruit. For two other families I’m making, chicken Parmesan and individual roasted lamb loins. Fun day in the kitchen. Have a great holiday, nice site u have. Steve

  13. Oh, I just told my husband I SO miss my Cuisinart! He said ” don’t we have one?” And I said “sort of…it’s a food processor, NOT a Cuisinart!” Congrats on yet another appearance. You are clearly in your groove! Way to go! The cheesecake looks fantastic-wish I’d had this recipe at Thanksgiving. Mine was just ok. Meh. Happy New Year!

  14. And yes, of course I will be watching GMA on Christmas morning!

  15. Bonnie Rubin says:

    GMA on Christmas morning – what a treat! We’ll be watching. Hope Mario Batali knows what good company he’s in!

  16. Madplaid says:

    Hi Rachel-
    Can’t wait to tune in on Christmas- here’s to continued success and a wonderful New Year!

  17. Debby Rosin says:

    Looking forward to seeing you on Good Morning America on Christmas day. If I get ambitious maybe I will try the cheesecake!

  18. Sharon says:

    The marbleized inside looks dreamily delish, as would the red appliance in my kitchen. 🙂 Thanks for including the healthy tips in so many of your recipes. Enjoy the family and give Danielle and Bob our congratulations on their anniversary.

  19. I would love this food processor to help with my baking. Thanks!

  20. debbie jackson says:

    would love to make this debbie jackson
    djackson1958 at hotmail dot com

  21. Jenifer Dicker says:

    The pumpkin cheesecake looks great. It would be so nice to have the food processor to use in making it. We will be looking for you on Christmas Day (after we are done with presents when the kids get us up at 6am!)

  22. Debbie G says:

    I will definitely make this dessert for a small dinner party that I am hosting in February — my husband is on a gluten free diet — so this dessert will work for everyone! Btw — I met you at one of the Williams Sonoma classes and was so inspired by you, that I signed up for Culinary School starting in January! And, yes, of course, I would love the Food Processor and will look for you on Good Morning America. Congrats.

  23. Beverly Stoskus says:

    Looking forward to seeing you on GMA on Christmas day with my family. We will try the recipe at a later date as we will be cooking some new recipes and taking some items from the freezer that have been been prepared for Christmas day. Enjoy your time with your family.

  24. susitravl says:

    My food processor is OLD! I got it for a wedding present in 1989. It has been good, but time for a replacement, with sharp blades!

  25. Rondah says:

    I really need one of these! Thanks for the chance

  26. Julie says:

    On Christmas Day-you are appearing on Good Morning America-hope to see u 🙂 thanks and Merry Christmas

  27. Sue I says:

    Looks delicious! Your life story has me considering culinary school. I’m a 45 year old accountant!

  28. Scott Hoffman says:

    Hi Rachel – Great that you were on GMA Dec 25 but I missed it. We had a wonderful day of sharing gifts and food and reminiscing with family. Love your recipes and being able to forward them to others. Scott Hoffman

  29. Debbie, Wow…culinary school! Good for you! That’s a big step! Please keep in touch and let me know how it goes! Enjoy the cake!

  30. katherine d says:

    great giveaway – hope i win!!!

    katherinedibello (at) gmail (dot) com

  31. katherine d says:

    great giveaway – hope i win!!!

    katherinedibello (at) gmail (dot) com

  32. Hanna says:

    I’m reading this post after your 12/25 appearance- it looks like lots of fun! We spent the day with family- and the kids woke up for our earliest Christmas morning ever- 4:45am!

  33. Hanna says:

    I’m reading this post after your 12/25 appearance- it looks like lots of fun! We spent the day with family- and the kids woke up for our earliest Christmas morning ever- 4:45am!

  34. Hi Rachel, You know we watched, and of course Alan told everyone he knows to watch too! Always fun to see you on the tele!

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