Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Remix

A common question asked during the holiday season is, "I just can't seem to gain enough weight during the holidays! What can I do to pack the lbs on?" Don't worry, friends. I have the answer. And the answer is: pumpkin cheesecake.

Pumpkin flavored desserts are all winners in my book, I'm all about the spicy pumpkin baked goods. In October I began to think about what new pumpkin creation I could make. Pumpkin muffins? Check. Pumpkin cookies? Check. Pumpkin pie? Check. The unfortunate pumpkin pie that completely lacked sugar? Check. Pumpkin cheesecake? Oh hello, lover.

Cheesecake was also a good option because although Joe is not usually a sweets person, he cannot resist anything cold, sweet and creamy. I'm not sure he is physically capable of removing himself from a milkshake. Joe is similarly enamored with cheesecake and since his birthday is on Halloween, it seemed like a good thing to make.

I decided to spruce up the cheesecake a bit by making a gingersnap crust instead of the normal graham cracker crust that's in most cheesecakes. Originally I was going to make my own gingersnaps to grind for the crust and then I realized I was a crazy person and bought a bag of cookies from Whole Foods instead.

Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecake


  • 1 bag gingersnap cookies (I used a 12 oz bag) -- you'll want around 2 cups of cookie crumbs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 14 ounce can pumpkin pulp
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Grind the gingersnaps in a food processor until they reach a fine crumb. Add melted butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and springform pan. Now, make the filling. In a mixer bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add eggs and yolks all at once, beating on low speed just until combined. Add spices and mix until incorporated. Fold in the cream and the pumpkin pulp.Pour into the crust lined pan. Place in a shallow baking pan in oven and fill baking pan with hot water to reach about half way up the spring form pan. Bake for about 55 minutes or until the center appears nearly set when shaken. Turn heat off and leave cheesecake in the cooler oven for 30 mins. Cool out of oven for an additional 30 minutes. Chill for 4 hours before serving.

I thought this came out really well and it even won me a little fall baking contest. Loved the gingersnap crust though the butter in the crust could be decreased a bit. Sacrilege, I know. Joe plowed through most of it in no time by using hunks of cheesecake essentially as a meal replacement. If only such a diet existed. The all cheesecake diet? Count me in.

So this would be a nice twist on your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. It would also make a good addition to your thighs. Or we can pretend its healthy because it is full of such nutritious things like vegetables (pumpkin), dairy (um, heavy cream and cream cheese) and protein (eggs). A well rounded meal!

Joe and I are having a small Thanksgiving of just the two of us so we'll just have a little feast of fall veggies, mashed potatoes and meat/meat-like products. I think Joe is going to attempt to roast a duck and I'm having my petite faux turkey roast. I've been vegetarian for nearly six years and one of the only times I encounter problems are at large Thanksgiving dinners where inevitably someone offers me turkey and I decline, telling them I'm a vegetarian. To which they say, "Oh, okay. I'll just give you a small piece then." What? I'm a vegetarian, not a oh-as-long-as-its-a-small-piece-tarian.

It does remind me of another fond memory of my German exchange trip. Before leaving, all the students wrote letters to our future host families in our broken toddler-level German and I threw in 'Ich bin Vegetarisch!' as a heads up. We arrived in Germany after traveling nine million hours on an airplane, which was somewhat like attending a flying drunken German party. Sleep deprived and smelling of stale German cigarettes, we were touted to a welcoming barbecue. I met my dear German host parents who immediately wanted to feed me and offered me a variety of meats. I explained to them I was vegetarian and the following conversation ensued, "Ah yes, I see, I see... But you eat chickens, yes? No? Of course, of course... But surely you eat sausage. Bratwurst, ja? Nein? Of course not. What about...." and I eventually told them I would eat fish, which seemed to calm them a bit. I don't normally eat fish or seafood at all but I was jet lagged and wanted to placate my host parents. Of course the local newspaper took picture of the BBQ and I appeared on the front page of the news, appearing slightly ill and holding a large platter of steaming meat products that I was bullied into holding. That's one down side of being 5'0: you're always stuck dead center in photographs, displaying something weird if needed. Like a tray of bratwurst while surrounded by smiling Germans.

Another time I saw a German restaurant had a vegetarian sandwich option so I tried to order it. And the German workers were like WHAT! SURELY YOU ARE MISTAKEN AND WANT IT WAS MEAT, JA?? NO MEAT? CAN... NOT... COMPUTE. BRAIN... EXPLODING.

I'm not sure how my German impression turned into a version of Terminator. Let's just go with it.

I'm sure I'll post something from Thanksgiving later this week, I'm just planning on doing a pumpkin pie. I may not survive though, every time I try to make pie crust I almost murder somebody. But I'm determined to conquer pie crust so I keep making it and come close to having a stroke each time. Every time I attempt it Joe is like, "Can I help you with anything, baby?" and I'm like, "WHY ARE YOU IN HERE?? GET OUT!! EVERYTHING IS FINE!! NO, I AM NOT - sob - CRYING!!"

I'm sure it will be a calm and relaxing Thanksgiving. Enjoy your holiday.


Vanessa said...

This looks INCREDIBLE! What a fabulous combination! Definitely one to try!

alaskagrrrL said...

Yummmmmm. Can I rescind your invitation to come home at Xmas? I am going to weigh 300 lbs. by January!!! Sigh. Hey, have you seen the Pioneer Woman has an actual cookbook out? Fame and fortune await you!

Katy ~ said...

Pumpkin cheese ~ sheer decadence and deliciousness!