Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Thanksgiving Dessert Compromise

We had our own Thanksgiving meal at home this past fall.  We used to go to my mom's parent's condo, then we started bringing them with us to my dad's parent's place.  This time we decided to keep it simple, with just us.  My sister was supposed to join us, but had a lot of work to do, so she stayed in Brooklyn.  Normally, I have to fight to include pumpkin in the menu.  My mom loves it (although not as much as I do), but my dad and sister are not fans.  They however both love cheesecake.  I decided that if I made a cheesecake, and swirled some pumpkin in, maybe they would be okay with it.  Well, I didn't hear any complaints!
This was my first time baking a cheesecake in a water bath.  It came out so creamy!  It still cracked on top, but I blame the pumpkin for that.
This was a beautiful, and delicious, dessert.

Recipe: Deluxe Pumpkin Cheesecake (from Culinary Covers)
1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (I used some gingersnaps, and some graham crackers)
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
4 8-oz packages reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Optional garnishes: chocolate syrup, caramel ice cream topping, whipped topping, additional crushed gingersnap cookies

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.  Place a greased 9-inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy duty foil.  Securely wrap foil around pan.

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs, pecans and butter.
Press onto the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until set.  Cool on a wire rack.

For filling, in a large bowl, beat 1 package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Beat in remaining cream cheese, one package at a time.  Add remaining sugar.  Add 2 eggs, beat on low speed until just combined.  Add remaining eggs and vanilla, beating on low speed until just combined.

Place 2 cups filling in a small bowl, stir in the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Remove 3/4 cup pumpkin filling and set aside.  Pour remaining pumpkin filling over the crust, top with remaining plain filling.  Drop reserved pumpkin filling by spoonfuls over cheesecake, swirl with a knife.

Place springform pan in a large baking pan, add 1 inch hot water to larger pan.  Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes, or until center is just set and top appears dull.  Remove springpan from water bath.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen, cool 1 hour longer.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.  Add garnish, if desired.

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