Keene, New Hampshire's Pumpkin Festival is just memories now. Thanksgiving is only days away. Pumpkin still is one of the great flavors of harvest time. This cheesecake is creamy and delicious with spicy cinnamon and ginger bringing out the earthiness of the pumpkin. The crust is subtle and just a touch sweet.
This recipe uses xylitol, a naturally-derived sweetener. Xylitol is sugar-free and offers many health benefits, including fighting tooth decay.
After you’ve made this cheesecake once, you’ll find it deserves a prominent place on your holiday table.
Yield: 8 servings
For the Crust:
10 ounces store-bought Scottish shortbread cookies
4 T melted butter
4 T granulated xylitol*
For the Cheesecake:
1 cup granulated xylitol*
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1½ cups pure pumpkin puree†
¼ cup dairy sour cream1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Whipped cream and chocolate curls (optional) for garnish
1. Place the shortbread cookies into the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse the processor until the largest pieces are as fine crumbs. You should have about a cup and a half to two cups of crumbs.
2. Add the melted butter and the sweetener, processing until well mixed.
3. Put the crumb mixture into a 9″ springform or cheesecake pan (with a removable bottom), and using your fingers, press the mixture evenly to cover the bottom and sides. The crust will not come all the way up the side of the pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil, crimping it so it comes up the sides. Refrigerate until ready for filling.
4. Preheat oven to 325° F.
5. In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, and xlylitol. Beat just until smooth.
6. Add the eggs one at a time, then the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater to ensure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
7. Pour the filling into the prepared pan. To make a nicer cake that doesn’t have cracks in the top, put the filled cheesecake pan into a, larger baking pan and pour hot water into the larger pan. The water level should come up about half way on the cheesecake pan. Carefully place the whole assembly into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
8. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven but leave the cake in it for a half hour. Then prop the oven door open and let the cake sit until cool before removing. Take the cake pan from the water bath and place on a wire rack to continue cooling. When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. Do not release it from the pan yet.
9. Once the cheesecake has chilled, overnight if possible, remove the aluminum foil and the pan side and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream and chocolate curls on top.
*Because my husband cannot tolerate sugar, I make this cake and the crust with xylitol. I make sugarfree whipped cream and use sugar free chocolate. If you would rather use sugar for this recipe, feel free to do so. Just substitute an equal amount for the amounts of xylitol given here. There’s no need to adjust the baking time.
†Canned pumpkin is great for this cake. Make sure to use pure pumpkin though, not “pumpkin pie filling.”
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