Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Bourbon-Walnut Glaze

Fear my L337 cheesecake making skeelz!!

This here is one dangerous cheesecake, needing at least one glass of frosty cold milk to go along with it. I made two of these bad boys, one (which came out…eh) will go to my friends party this evening. The other (which came out looking vunderbar) will be competing in my company’s Holiday Dessert contest.

I am so shallow.

My fear is that the cheesecake might be a bit too rich for the early morning contest…but I figured that if I was trying to impress Engineers, I should put bourbon somewhere into the mix.

It’s a fairly involved recipe, so set aside about three hours or so in order to make. It’s based off of the Cook’s Illustrated Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe from Nov/Dec 2003 issue.


  • 5 ounces graham crackers (about 9 whole crackers)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  • 2 Tablespoons cold water
  • 4 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup golden brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins

For the crust -

Pre heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan with non-stick spray.

In a food processor, add the graham crackers, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Pulse until finely ground. Pout crumbs into a medium bowl.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium low heat. When completely melted, add to the crumbs and mix with a spatula. Mix until it has the texture of wet sand.

Put crumbs into spring form pan and spread firmly and evenly. Place spring form pan into oven and bake for 15 minutes. Cool on rack while making filling.

For the filling -

Leave oven on at 325 degrees F.

Place out two sheets of paper towels, two segments for each sheet, on top of each other. Open can of pumpkin and spread evenly upon the paper towels. Top with two more sheets of paper towels, again with two segments each. This will remove a fair amount of water from the pumpkin.

In a stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a simmer. This will be for the water bath.

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, spices and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat all the cream cheese with a hand mixer at medium low speed. Mix until softened, about 1 minute. Add 1/3 of sugar mixture, and mix again. until the sugar mixture has been combined. Repeat this sugar mixing process two more times. Add Pumpkin and vanilla. And beat at medium speed until fully combined. Add 3 eggs and mix at medium low speed until incorporated, about one minute. Add remaining 2 eggs and mix until incorporated, about another 45 seconds. Add bourbon and heavy cream, and mix for about another 45 seconds.

Once the cheesecake mixture is complete, pour into spring form pan with the baked graham cracker crust. Wrap the bottom of the spring form pan with 3 layers of aluminum foil, in order to prevent an excess amount of water from seeping in. It doesn’t have to be water tight, but should be close.

Place aluminum foil wrapped spring form pan into roasting pan. Place roasting pan into 325 degree F oven. From the stockpot, pour water into roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the side of the pan. Close oven and bake until internal temperature of the cheesecake reaches 145-150 degrees…about 90 minutes of baking should be fine.

After 90 minutes, remove roasting pan from oven and place on the stove top. Allow to cool for 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes, remove spring form pan from water bath, and allow to cool for 3 hours. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve or top.

For the glaze -

In a small mixing bowl, combine the water and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and mix until the sugar has dissolved. With a lighter with an extended end (the kind they use for fireplace) light the bourbon. Allow to flame for 10 seconds and then cover to extinguish flame.

**Be VERY careful when lighting alcohol on fire. make sure that the stove top is clean and that there are no flammable materials hanging about. Do this step in a very controlled environment.**

In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When completely melted, pour the bourbon liquid over butter and combine. Then add cornstarch mixture and mix until thickened. Remove from heat and add walnuts and raisins. Spoon over cheesecake or decorate cheesecake as your artistic temperament strikes.

Place Cheesecake back in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Serves 10-12

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