Pumpkin Cheesecake with Almond Crunch and Amaretto Cream

Pumpkin cheesecake with candied almonds and amaretto whipped cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pumpkin is an ingredient I get obsessed with this time of year. Its bright orange shell is such a relief during a season when color is fading away and the grey of winter is settling in. In fact, I am determined to paint a room the color of roasted pumpkin this year. But, my love of pumpkin goes beyond its mood lifting color, I adore its luscious texture, its ability to marry with both sweets and savory, and its earthy sweetness. I’ve heard there are folks that don’t share my enthusiasm for this gorgeously colored gourd, but I’ll eat roasted pumpkin with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt. It is even more wonderful in desserts; pumpkin creme brulee, classic pie, breads and cheesecake. When it is pureed smooth, it has a custard like texture, so it lends itself beautifully to this silky pumpkin cheesecake. For a contrast to the velvety cheesecake, I’ve added candied almond crunch and a dollop of Amaretto whipped cream.

Pumpkin Cheesecake:


1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 9 crackers)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


3 packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 can or 15 ounces pureed roasted pumpkin

3 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

almond crunch:

1 cup raw slivered almonds

1 cup sugar

pinch salt

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon egg white

Amaretto whipped cream:

1 cup heavy whipped cream

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon Amaretto

To make the crust: 

Preheat oven to 350°F

Grease an 8×8-inch square cake pan and line with parchment.

Making graham cracker crust | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a food processor, mix together the graham crackers, brown sugar, salt and butter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press it out in an even layer. Bake for about 12 minutes, until it starts to color. Let cool on a rack.

Beating batter for cheesecake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed with the paddle attachment for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and mix for another 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and mix for about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Mix for 30 seconds.

Cheesecake batter in a pan | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the cooled crust. Place the cheesecake in the oven on a cookie sheet that has about a 1/4-inch hot water in it. This will help the cheesecake bake evenly and have a silky texture. Turn the oven down to 325°F and bake for about an hour or until it is just set in the middle. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Shaved almonds | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

To make the almond crunch topping:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

In a bowl mix together the almonds, sugar, salt, zest, and egg white.

Almond crunch topping | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Spread the almond mixture onto the cookie sheet and bake for about 1o minutes. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the almonds, so the edges don’t get too much color. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown. Let the crunch cool completely and then break into small pieces.

Pumpkin cheesecake with candied almonds and amaretto whipped cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

To serve the cheesecake:

Using a sharp, thin bladed knife dipped in hot water, cut the cheesecake into 16 pieces.

Whip the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar and Amaretto until medium peaks.

Pumpkin cheesecake with candied almonds and amaretto whipped cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Serve the cheesecake with the whipped cream and

Pumpkin cheesecake with candied almonds and amaretto whipped cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Almond crunch and I found these tasty figs at the co-op.

Pumpkin cheesecake with candied almonds and amaretto whipped cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Since pumpkin is full of vitamins, fiber, and omega-3s, I think it makes a great breakfast snack for my boys.

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19 thoughts to “Pumpkin Cheesecake with Almond Crunch and Amaretto Cream”

  1. Oh, I’m right with you on pumpkins (or really, any winter squash) this time of year. I just roasted a lot of squash and I’ve made bread, rolls, muffins, and of course, pumpkin pie. I can’t wait to try this, it sounds amazing.

  2. Hi Zoe,
    This looks delish! Want to make for our ladies’ who bake at church luncheon. What size cream cheese? 4 or 8 oz.

    1. Hi Abigail,

      Yes, you can use other nuts. If you use a softer nut, like walnuts, you will need to make sure they don’t brown too quickly.

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. Zoe, is it the 3 oz. or 8 oz cream cheese? I think it’s the 8 but just wanted to double check. This is a really nice, lite change up for pumpkin!

    1. Hi Richard,

      That is a great question. I’m not sure it is available. You can use the regular canned pumpkin, which is what I had in mind, if you don’t roast your own.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. Just put this into the oven and think I’m in for a big mess. There seems to be too much batter in the pan. What size packages of cream cheese was I supposed to use? Keeping my fingers crossed.

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