• Cooking Time: 75 minutes
  • Servings: 12
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes


I created this recipe for Thanksgiving, 2008. I wanted all the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving, but I wanted to present it in a nontraditional . This was my twist on pumpkin pie. I originally thought the chocolate/walnut crust might not be the best pairing with pumpkin, but it turned out to be my favorite part.


  • For pumpkin seed brittle:
  • ½ C sugar
  • ½ C water
  • ¾ C raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • For crust:
  • 1 ½ C chocolate wafer crumbs
  • ½ C pulverized walnuts
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • For filling:
  • 24 oz. (3- 8oz. pkgs.) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ½ C sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin
  • ½ C sour cream
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t ground cloves
  • ¼ t ground allspice
  • 1 t vanilla


  • To make brittle:
  • Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  • Combine sugar and water in saucepan and place over medium heat.
  • Swirl gently until desired caramel color is achieved.
  • Add pumpkin seeds and immediately remove from heat, stirring vigorously. Quickly pour onto greased baking sheet and spread out. Set aside to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Place spring form pan on a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold up the outsides to seal the base.
  • To make crust:
  • Combine chocolate crumbs, walnuts, and cinnamon in mixing bowl.
  • Add melted butter and stir to combine.
  • Press crust evenly into a 9” spring form pan.
  • Use a measuring cup to press into corner and up the sides (I usually get about ½ way up the sides with the crust).
  • Place pan in refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to set crust.
  • To make filling:
  • Place room temperature cream cheese in mixing bowl and beat on low speed until smooth (1-2 minutes).
  • Add one egg at a time, fully incorporating before adding next egg.
  • Add sugar and sour cream.
  • Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add pumpkin and stir mix well.
  • Add cinnamon, ground cloves, ground allspice, and vanilla.
  • Mix until incorporated.
  • Pour filling into crust and place spring form into a roasting pan.
  • Fill roasting pan with hot water until half-way up the side of the cheesecake pan.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • The cheesecake should still be jiggly in the center.
  • Remove the roasting pan from the oven and leave cheesecake in water bath for 30 minutes. (The carryover heat will help the cheesecake set without overcooking).
  • Remove cheesecake pan from water bath and loosely cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.
  • To plate, remove plastic wrap and run a knife around the inside rim before releasing the spring.
  • Transfer cheesecake to serving platter.
  • Break pumpkin seed brittle into shards.
  • Take ¼ of the brittle and break into small pieces (2-4 seeds per piece) and sprinkle over the top of the cheesecake.
  • Place remaining shards around the base of the cheesecake for presentation.

Author Credit: copyright 2008, Scott Duncan

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