I don't like pumpkin ::gasp:: i know, so un-American. In my attempt to make a dessert that I would not pick at all afternoon, I chose pumpkin cheesecake and even for someone who doesn't like pumpkin- this looks amazing!! So not only will I keep my waist line thin, but the single Marines who are stuck in the barracks will get dessert!
I looked at a lot of different pumpkin cheesecake recipes and ended up making my own and according to the empty pan- I say its a hit! Yes, I said pan- as in a throw away pan. I didn't have a spring form pan like you normally use to make cheesecake so I just used a throw away cake pan...it worked fine...
What you need-
Crust: Instead of a normal graham cracker crust- I did a gingersnap crust!
-1 3/4 cup gingersnap crumbs (about 30 cookies)
-6 tablespoons butter, melted
-3 tablespoons brown sugar
-3/4 cup ground pecans
- caramel drizzle
- 3 blocks cream cheese
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (not the pie filling!!)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice (more if you want more pumpkin pie flavor -gag-)
- caramel drizzle
-whipped cream (homemade or store bought)
- chopped pecans
Making the darn thing...
1. Pre-heat oven to 350
2. Making the crust- ground up gingersnaps (i used a blender because I broke my food processor but if you don't have either, you can smash them up real fine with a rolling pin), grind up pecans, mix ground gingersnaps, pecans, brown sugar and melted butter together until combined. Press into bottom of pan (whatever kind you are using) and up the sides slightly. If you want (trust me, you want) drizzle caramel on top of the crust.
Next, onto the filling! I used my kitchenaid mixer- an electric mixer would work just as well...
1. Beat the cream cheese and the white sugar together until combine. Add the eggs, pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice slowly until incorporated into batter.
2. Pour over the crust. If you want (again, you will) add "plops" of caramel then take a fork and swirl it into the batter. Smooth it all out. The picture is when I was half done smoothing it out...
3. Put cheesecake pan into a water bath (a bigger pan that once the cheesecake pan is in, is filled halfway up with warm water so it will help to keep the cooking of the cheesecake even) and bake for about 60 minutes. It should just be a lil giggly in the middle when its done. Put it on a cooling rack until completely cooled then chill in the refrigerator over night...or as long as you can stand it but try for at least 8 hours!
Last but not least- the topping!!
1. Before serving, cover cheesecake with layer of whipped cream. Drizzle caramel over the top (as much as you want) then sprinkle with pecans!
Because I didn't use a normal cheesecake pan- I ended up with a lot of leftover batter, so I made the crust again in a smaller quantity and made mini cheesecakes...I once again proved to myself that I have the inability to not make a mess when using cupcake tins!
I only baked them for 15 minutes then shut off the oven and prop the door...they were perfect (as Ive been told...)
P.S.- Maybe pumpkin will be on sale since its after thanksgiving but you can totally get away with serving this a whole lot more times then just Thanksgiving! So yummy AND cheap dessert!