November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Replacement

Stud and I volunteered to bring dessert to his family's Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I always make the mashed potatoes at my parents, so I thought I would try dessert for his family.  Last year we brought a CPB Pie - but I really wanted to take a nap so just told Stud to put in a handful of chocolate chips.  Bad idea.  His hands are much larger than mine and it was a little slash wayyyy to chocolaty.  This year we have the measurements!  But instead of bringing two pies (and Fine Cooking happened to do an article on Create your own Cheesecake), I thought Stud and I could bring a cheesecake!  And to keep it in the spirit of things, a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
For the Crust:
8 oz gingersnaps
3 T. sugar
7 T. unsalted butter
For the Filling:
1 c. canned pumpkin
3 blocks cream cheese
2 T. all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 T. vanilla extract
4 large eggs

For the crust, preheat the oven to 375 and crust the gingersnaps into crumbs.  Combine the crumbs with the sugar and butter until everything clumps together slightly.  Put in the bottom of a 9" spring form pan and using your fingers, spread out evenly and about two inches up the side of the pan.  Bake until it darkens, about 10 minutes.

For the filling, lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees.  With the cream cheese at room temperature, beat along with the canned pumpkin, flour and a pinch of table salt until very smooth and fluffy, about five minutes.  Add in the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Add the eggs one at a time just until combined.  Apparently over beating the eggs will lead the top to crack as it cools.  Poor the filling into the crust and bake for 55-65 minutes, until the center wiggles like Jell-O when you shake it - the edges will be puffed but the center will still look moist.  I think mine took about 60 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate until well cooled - at least eight hours.  Remove from the spring form pan and you're ready to serve!

I learned some valuable cheesecake lessons with this one.  First - cheesecakes are super easy.  Also, when baking, put the cheesecake on a cookie sheet since the butter in the crust can ooze out the bottom.  Then your oven smokes like crazy and you have to run the self cleaner.  And my crust slumped down so it doesn't go all the way up the sides.  I think this is because I used a nonstick spring form pan.  Tomorrow I'm going to test using a stick one, so I'll let you know if it slumps.  Finally, during the cooling process, do not leave a cheesecake in the fridge unattended.  You could end up with finger swipes.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Also - do not leave cheesecake unattended near dogs. May go without saying, but apparently not in my house. ;-)


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