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Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust, Finished with Curry Whipped Cream


November 24, 2012

I won!

I can’t actually believe it, but it’s true.

It’s been a whirlwind, no doubt. Arriving there last Tuesday, heading into the kitchen, and beginning the task of making dinner for 50 people in one of the best restaurants in Seattle (with a camera crew following your every move no less) felt like such an honor, and such an adventure.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Plating at Kitchen Circus…multiply by 50.

In many ways, I was incredibly naive. Things that I thought would take an hour, took double. Different equipment and unexpected ingredients caused a few hiccups (including turning an entire batch of whipped cream into gross chunky butter), but I also surprised myself in my ability to keep calm, do what I love to do, and put out two courses that the diners and the judges deemed the best. None of it could have been done without the incredible team at Rover’s, who simply by proxy taught me valuable kitchen tricks and how to do things faster, smarter, and more elegantly. They were gracious and generous with a bunch of civilians bumbling around in their kitchen, but most of all they were kind. They made an undeniably stressful day, fun as well, which is really what food should be all about.

I’m now prepping for the Finale, and thinking about what my next round of recipes should look like, but I’m also trying my hardest to just enjoy the moment and the magic, because it lights me up inside. And it gives me the spark to keep going and keep doing what I enjoy the most.

And so, with no further adieu, I am so excited to share the winning dessert recipe. Thanksgiving might be over, but this one will make a perfect end to just about any Fall or Winter dinner.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust, Finished with Curry Whipped Cream

Adapted from Desserts in Jars by Shaina Olmanson. Makes 24, 4-ounce cheesecakes.

Don’t let the curry scare you. It is the secret ingredient that takes this dessert to a whole new level. You just want a hint of it, but you’ll be amazed with how it changes the whole dish. For the competition I made these in individual silicone molds. While these make for a more formal presentation, 4 oz glass jars are also lovely and more portable. If making and serving in the jars, grease well, and then put the crust in first.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Preparing the gingersnap crust in the jars.

For the Crust:

  • 3 cups gingersnaps, ground into crumbs
  • 6 TB (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Curry Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 TB confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 TB curry, or to taste
Pumpkin Cheesecake

Adding the cheesecake to the jars. Allow about 1/2″ room at the top for the later added whipped cream.

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl combine the gingersnap crumbs and melted butter until all of the crumbs are coated. Set aside.
  3. Make the cheesecake: In a large stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. It is easy to get impatient with this step, but you want it to be incredibly soft and airy, beating easily for 3-5 minutes over medium-high, scraping the bowl and the beater entirely every 1-2 minutes.
  4. Beat in the pumpkin puree, and beat another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add in the sugar and spices, and beat for 1-2 minutes until totally incorporated, scraping as necessary.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  7. Spoon into 4 ounce silicone molds (half-sphere or pyramids), leaving 1/2 inch from the top.
  8. Pat the crust onto the tops, smooshing slightly with your hand to form a crust.
  9. Add a clean dish towel to a pan with high sides, and gently transfer the molds to that pan. Place the pans with the molds in the oven and carefully add hot water to the pans to come halfway up the sides of the molds.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, or just until their centers are almost set. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecakes and water to cool slowly for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Once totally cool carefully remove from molds, and invert, saving ginger snap crumbs that fall off.
  11. Right before serving, whip together the cream, confectioners’ sugar and curry in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Pipe over the top of the spheres, sprinkle with saved ginger snap crumbs, and finish with sprinkling of powdered sugar.



  1. Shar says:

    How wonderful, Erina!

  2. Gordon says:

    Go Erina!

  3. That’s so amazing!!! Congratulations wow! Looks beautiful!

  4. Michele says:

    I cannot wait to try this recipe! Curry whipped cream! How creative! Best of luck on Dec 4th, Erina! You don’t have much down time before you’re back in the kitchen at Rover’s! Yikes!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      If you do, let me know what you think! It’s a whirlwind…for sure..Tuesday, Kitchen Circus, Wednesday Guests Arrive, Thursday Thanksgiving, Friday Zoo, Saturday downtown, Sunday park, Monday, assignment meeting…next Tuesday Kitchen Circus finale! I’m still deciding on recipes…whew!!!

  5. AbbieJ says:

    Erina, you are taking the culinary world by storm! And what a luscious dessert this is… worth every calorie. =)

  6. emmycooks says:

    Curry whipped cream! I agree, you win. Sounds amazing! Congratulations and I can’t wait to hear about how you take them by storm next. 🙂

  7. Karista says:

    Congratulations Erina!!!! This is beautiful and looks delish! I’m so excited for you and now I can’t wait to see the show. I know you’ll be just as spectacular next dinner. 🙂

  8. This is only the beginning… glad I’m able to witness Erina taking the culinary world by storm. You are such a rockstar and I’m so proud, excited – just over the moon! This dessert is outstanding and curry whipped cream – so simple but so outrageously brilliant!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      The Curry Whipped Cream was Matt’s brainchild, but it definitely worked. I would highly recommend trying!

  9. Ann says:

    Congrats!!! This sounds delicious — I made a similar cheesecake from Saveur for the holiday, but curry whipped cream? Oh, my!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thank you Ann! Cheesecake is so decidedly festive…although I must admit at the moment I’ve had my fill, ha.

  10. Erina – I love this dish!!! The curry is so inspired and the plating is beautiful. So proud of you and happy for you. I am thinking you need to have a viewing party when these episodes air (and invite us, or course ;)). Have you decided on your next dishes yet?

  11. Hannah says:

    Congratulations! I’m delighted for you – this is a stunning dessert and I can see why it won. What an incredible culinary journey you are on. I can imagine you are being inspired and growing in so many ways. I look forward to your next dishes and can’t wait to view the show. I agree with Alyssa…have a viewing party to celebrate! 🙂

    PS LOVE this curry whipped cream…I’m baking another apple pie this week and think it’ll be perfect with it.

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      A viewing party…how fabulous! let’s make it happen…

      If you do make the curry whipped cream this weekend I’ll be so eager to hear what you and your guests think. Please do report back.

      It’s been an adventure for sure, but one I’m so thrilled to be a part of.

      Onto the next assignment!

  12. Maman says:

    As a lucky guest at Rover’s the night you won, I would just like to report that the restaurant hummed happily as your course was enjoyed, the deliciousness of this amazing dessert enhanced by your graciousness and courage.

    Bravo, Erina!! I can’t wait to try this at home.

  13. Anto says:

    I love cheesecake and this is beautiful, thanks for sharing your recipe. Congrats Erina!

  14. Lori says:

    I am loving this dessert! The curry sauce is perfect. I think it goes so well in sweet treats. And ,of course, I can never get enough pumpkin! Congrats!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      If you like pumpkin and curry, you will love this! Eager to hear what you think if you try it out yourself!

  15. Aunt Sarah says:

    So proud of you, sweetie! tell me, what gave you the idea for the curried whip cream? that combination of luscious and smoky fire?

    A childhood memory: When we were kids, we still had meatless Fridays and all the time during Lent. One of your Grandmother’s ‘gourmet’ dishes was to make a heavy white sauce, mix in curry powder and then lots of sliced hard-boiled eggs. It was my job, sometimes, to use the egg slicer. She would serve it over Uncle Ben’s rice. With frozen peas. Yup, that was gourmet in the late 50’s!

    Good luck in the final round!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      White sauce, curry powder, and hard-boiled eggs over white rice…oh my!

      Love hearing these memories though…keep them coming!

      To be fair, Cousin Burg and Matt were my testers that night, and they kept feeling like the dessert “needed something” and after trying many things we ended up on curry powder, so they get full credit!

  16. Congrats!! How cool! This recipe is amazing! 🙂

  17. Wonderful and delicious looking cheesecakes. Cheesecake is at the top for favorite desserts.

    You have amazing looking recipes here keep up the good work. Congrat’s on winning. 🙂

    Chef Randall

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