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A Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe for a Thanksgiving to Remember

Max Tucci shares a Thanksgiving memory from Florence and a pumpkin swirl cheesecake recipe from his cookbook.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake. Photo by Jennifer Arce.

My favorite Thanksgiving ever was while I was living full-time at my villa in Firenze. It was shortly after 9/11, and my fellow American friends and I all felt compelled to celebrate our traditional American Thanksgiving The Delmonico Way in Italy. I called upon my friends at Cirio & Sons restaurant in Florence Center and asked them if we could host Thanksgiving together. Without hesitation they said Sì. Sì. Sì. If there's one thing I learned growing up in Delmonico's, America's first fine dining restaurant (established in 1837), it is the art of sublime entertaining. After all, the subtitle for my bestselling cookbook, The Delmonico Way, is: Sublime Entertaining and Legendary Recipes from the Restaurant that Made New York! I knew in il mio cuore (in my heart) that this Thanksgiving in Italy was going to be sublime.

At first, we didn't know how many guests we were going to have. As word spread, the list grew quickly to over 150 guests. We were thrilled. We turned Cirio & Sons into an American cornucopia, overflowing with all things Thanksgiving: turkey, stuffing, all the sides one could imagine. And, of course, pies galore for dessert: apple, pecan, and my favorite, pumpkin. Our American-style Thanksgiving was a major success. We all felt the love, joy, and gratitude of the season.

Today, I am thrilled to announce that Delmonico's will be serving Thanksgiving, featuring a three-course menu selected by Executive Chef Eddie Hong. Of course, there will be turkey, but not just any turkey: a Norbest Family Turkey or a choice of the iconic Eye of Delmonico from Brandt Family Farms, or a Dry-aged Bone-in Ribeye from DemKota Ranch.

For more information or to make a reservation please use this link.

If joining us at Delmonico’s isn't possible and you would like to bring “The Delmonico Way!” into your home this holiday season, The Delmonico Way! is a wonderful cookbook to add to your collection. In the holiday spirit, I am sharing the Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake from my cookbook. This is a special recipe that was given to me by my fellow culinary enthusiast, Chef Carla Hall. Cheesecake played a huge role at Delmonico’s. It was the #1 ordered dessert during the 1950s at the legendary restaurant at 56 Beaver Street. The Hunt Room at Delmonico’s was handsomely appointed, lined with English hunt scenes over rich wooden paneling and furnished with black Italian leather chairs. It had a separate menu from the main dining room that was considered simple by Delmonico’s standards—which meant it listed more than 100 items! Cheesecake was one classic Hunt Room dessert.

The Hunt Room at Delmonico's restaurant in New York City.
The Hunt Room at Delmonico's in New York City. Photo courtesy of the Tucci Family Archives.

Thanks to Carla, this recipe has become a Thanksgiving favorite of mine, and I hope it becomes one of yours. Note: If you don’t have a slow cooker, bake the cheesecake in a bain-marie in a 300˚F oven for 2 hours.

Wishing you and yours a joyous Thanksgiving, filled with love and gratitude! From my family and the entire Delmonico’s Restaurant family, we wish you a Buona festa del ringraziamento!

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

Recipe by Carla Hall
5.0 from 2 votes
Servings

9

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 

Ingredients

  • For the Crust
  • cooking spray for pan

  • 1-1/2 1-1/2 graham cracker crumbs

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 cocoa powder

  • 2 tablespoons 2 sugar

  • 1 teaspoon 1 salt

  • 6 tablespoons 6 unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan

  • For the Filling
  • 1-1/2 pounds 1-1/2 cream cheese, softened

  • 1-1/3 cups 1-1/3 granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon 1 salt

  • 2 teaspoons 2 vanilla extract

  • 4 large 4 eggs, room temperature

  • 2/3 cup 2/3 sour cream

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 heavy cream

  • 1 cup 1 pumpkin puree

  • 1 teaspoon 1 ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon 1 ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon 1 freshly grated nutmeg

  • For the Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup 1 heavy cream

  • 2 teaspoons 2 cocoa powder

  • 1 tablespoon 1 confectioners sugar

Directions

  • For the Crust
  • Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.
  • Stir in the melted butter.
  • Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the prepared pan.
  • For the Filling
  • Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the salt and vanilla and beat to combine.
  • Add 1 egg at a time, beating to incorporate between additions.
  • Beat in the sour cream and then the heavy cream until just combined.
  • Transfer 1 cup of the batter to a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Pour the remaining batter into the crust.
  • Whisk the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg with the reserved batter.
  • Dollop over the filling in 4 places.
  • To marbleize, insert a skewer or butter knife into each dollop and twirl it around the pan without scraping the bottom.
  • Place a large square of aluminum foil in the bottom of a large (7 to 8 quart) slow cooker.
  • Fill with 1/2 inch of water.
  • Place the cheesecake inside.
  • Arrange 4 layers of paper towels over the mouth of the slow cooker, then carefully secure the lid on top.
  • Cook the cheesecake for 2 hours on high.
  • Without opening the lid, turn off the heat and allow the cheesecake to cool for 1 hour.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the slow cooker and allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • To Serve
  • Beat the cream until medium-stiff peaks form.
  • Add the cocoa powder and confectioner's sugar and beat to combine.
  • Remove the ring around the springform and slice the cheesecake with a warm knife.
  • Place slices on individual serving plates and top each slice with a dollop of whipped cream.

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