cheesecakePumpkin pie is the classic Thanksgiving dessert. But you can riff off the traditional recipe and make Pumpkin Cheesecake instead. I like this recipe from Martha Stewart, although I prefer to substitute gingersnap cookies for graham crackers in the crust -- it just adds a little bright spice.

Sure, you might hate yourself in the morning given the calorie content of this heavenly dessert, but isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about?

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups gingersnap cookies (crushed into crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Combine crushed cookies and melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of 9" springform pan. Bake at 350 minutes until golden -- about 10-12 minutes.

Filling:

  • 4 (8-oz) packages softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs

The secret to keeping your cheesecake from cracking is not to over-mix the filling. Also, resist the urge to open the door and peek inside the oven while it's cooking (something I'm totally guilty of!).

Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer on low speed until smooth; mix in flour. Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix until smooth. Add eggs one at a time.

Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Bake 45 minutes at 300 degrees.

Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening). Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm -- at least 4 hours.


Image c.j.b./Flickr