Pumpkins (and their little friends cinnamon and nutmeg) seem synonymous with fall to me. They're everywhere around here: in fields, tumbling out of displays in the markets and stacked outside of grocery stores. I love the look of pumpkins and the aroma of any resulting baking. They are just asking to be made into pies. Unfortunately, no one in my family has ever been fond of pumpkin pie. I know this puts us all at odds with the world, but what can you do?
Luckily, I came across an earlier version of this pumpkin cheesecake and tinkered until it suited all of us (except my son in law who does not believe that cheese should be in cakes, but enough about him).
Pumpkin swirl cheesecake is very easy, quick to make, looks pretty and smells wonderful when baking. It has become a staple in our family for Thanksgiving. In Canada we celebrate ‘officially’ on the second Monday in October. It’s a statutory holiday and there is no ‘traditional’ shopping event associated with it. Instead, it’s the last weekend for a woodsy ramble with the leaves in full color, or a bike ride, time for family gatherings and for anyone with a cottage, it’s the traditional closing weekend.
Most Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, but with three days to choose from, there are a lot of different traditions on when and how to celebrate. I love that flexibility. If you play your cards right, you can manage a couple of dinners. Just sayin’.
But it doesn’t need to be Thanksgiving for this cake. It’s easy and doesn’t require a special occasion. I think any fall day ending in a Y would do. It keeps well and like many recipes is even better the second day – if there’s any left.
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
2 cups finely crushed ginger snaps(I used gluten free and the crust came out crunchy and carmelized)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 8 oz packages Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup canned pumpkin (or cooked mashed pumpkin)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°F (or 300 if using a dark springform pan).
Mix cookie crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Do not over mix or the top may crack (ahem). Remove 1 cup plain batter. Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter.
Spoon pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of the plain batter. Swirl with knife.
Bake about 50 – 55 min. or until centre is almost set.
Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
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