Let me tell you all the reasons this cheesecake is not scary.
- No water bath, cooking with the door open, cheesecake voodoo magic, steaming, spritzing, etc. This cheesecake simply goes in the oven like any other cake. I know the cheesecake gods are upset I am not giving the cheesecake a little steam session but this cheesecake is indestructible. Maybe there is more of a risk of the top cracking but 1- who care it still tastes insanely delicious and 2- you are covering it with meringue so no one will know.
- Graham cracker crust- pie crust can be scary. Pastry can be scary. Some ground up crackers with sugar and butter is a walk in the park.
- Blow torch. Turns out meringue is not hard it’s just elusive/rarely made at home because no one wants to buy a blow torch. This meringue is so so easy- here is the blow torch I bought (and the butane for it). The only scary part is if you accidentally light something on fire because you feel like such a kitchen warrior creating fire and go a little wild. Keep your cool and all will be well.
- Make ahead- you can make the cheesecake the day before and the meringue a few hours before so if things really go wrong you have a buffer. Things won’t go wrong though because you are amazing and this cake is not hard.
For Cheesecake Crust
- 1.75 cups graham cracker crumbs (can use gluten free if necessary)
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 stick melted unsalted butter
- Pinch salt
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temp
- 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
- 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 0.25 cup sour cream
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 0.75 cup egg whites
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 0.25 cup agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Set oven to 350 degrees F.
- For crust: combine crumbs, cinnamon, salt and sugar in medium bowl. Add butter. Press into 9” spring form pan.
- For filling: beat cream cheese (I used stand mixer) until very smooth- ideally you don’t have a ton of lumps. Add pumpkin, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat well.
- Pour filling over crust, smooth out and bake for one hour. It might seem a little wobbly but that’s okay. Remove from oven let sit for 15 minutes then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.
- For meringue: Heat 1” of water in a saucepan over medium low heat. Place egg whites, brown sugar, agave and vanilla extract in stand mixer bowl and set over (but not touching) water (you may have to hold it in place). Whisk until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot, about 2-4 minutes. Place bowl in stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment on high for 5-6 minutes until you have stiff peaks.
- Scoop meringue (it will feel like a lot) on top of cheesecake (if cheesecake has condensation built up pat dry first) using a spoon or offset spatula to smooth out in swirls. Brown with kitchen torch. Serve as soon as possible – can refrigerate up to six hours.