11/22/10

Pumpkin Cheesecake


Pumpkin Cheesecake. With my crazy schedule I knew I had to make something this weekend to start preparing for Thanksgiving this week and it had to be a food item that could be made a few days in advance. No problem! My Pumpkin Cheesecake! Cheesecakes need to be refrigerated or froze ahead of time in order to taste good! (Don't serve a cheesecake the day you make it... let it chill at least 24 hours if you can for better texture and flavor.)

Straight from the oven - the crack lays down
and disappears as it cools.
I could have baked it in a pan of water to prevent the crack
but it wasn't that important to me this time.




Although I've made this dessert for a few years now, this is a recipe that didn't actually exist until I finally wrote it down last night. I told my oldest daughter, who was in the kitchen when I made it, that I had better write it down and put it in the holiday recipe book for her and her sister so that if anything happened to me, they would have it!

Every year, I take 3 recipes, lay them out on the counter and make 'my' cheesecake by picking and choosing pieces from each. This would make it rather difficult for my daughter's to copy when they start making their own Thanksgiving dinners!

As usual however, I play with my food.

I make it a little different each time based on what I have.

Last year the crust had some crushed gingersnap cookies and Nilla wafer crumbs added.

The year before the crust had finely chopped almonds.

This year I only had 4 1/2 packages of cream cheese in the house so I added 1 cup sour cream to the mixture. Play with your food.


Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust: 2 cups graham crumbs (or sometimes use ginger snap crumbs, Nilla wafers, etc.)
2 T sugar (not needed if you use cookie crumbs but needed if you use graham)
1 stick butter (I usually cut off the end so it's about 6-7 tablespoons just to cut fat)

Melt butter, add to crumbs. Press into a 9" Springform pan. Bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes. Remove and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Cheesecake: 5 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese (I use 1/3 fat or regular)
1 c sugar (I've used Splenda some years or a mixture of both)
1/2 c sour cream (not necessary if you don't have it)
1/4 c brown sugar (not necessary but I add it sometimes for flavor)
4 eggs
2 t vanilla
dash salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger and 1/2 t nutmeg
15 oz. pure pumpkin

Mix all smooth. Pour on crust. At this point you can wrap the pan securely in foil and place it into a large baking pan with sides that you have filled with 2 inches of water to bake. This helps it bake slowly and evenly and reduce or eliminate a crack in the cheesecake. However usually the cracks lay down flat after the cake cools and is refrigerated, and if you are adding a topping, it won't matter at all. Totally up to you. This year I did not use a water bath bake, last year I did.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours at 325 until the center is set. Cool. Refrigerate or freeze for future use.

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