Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake: the thanksgiving dessert that lets the cook relax too


This Thanksgiving dessert is brought to you by Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini who are always thankful when recipes seem foolproof. In fact, they're so thankful that they have a little contest for people who leave a comment at the end of this post.


Oh Thanksgiving! What’s not to love? Family and friends gather around to celebrate with food and affection. It’s a lovely time without a shopping frenzy leading up to it. And in our family, we feel we have a lot to be thankful for.   We are grateful for the little mister's regained health and for the success of the Victoria Abbott books. We're grateful we can write books together and still get along. I mean no one really dies. 

But back to food: 

 MJ enjoys cooking turkey and loves all the trimmings too, but somehow baking a dessert on the day always seems too much of a big deal. And face it, she likes to relax on the day too. So she is always looking for desserts that can be made at least the day before. With pumpkin being such a tradition, pumpkin pie is obvious, but also seemed a bit too much like work.  But once MJ found this recipe, it became the instant tradition for our Thanksgiving dinner. It’s done a day ahead and just needs to be served with a flourish. As Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, this has already happened of course. But as usual, it was a big hit and in fact, there have already been two pumpkin cheesecakes at Maffini celebrations this fall.

Something tells us that even though it’s business as usual up here that day, there will be another turkey and yet another pumpkin cheesecake this coming Thursday. Everyone would be thankful for that!

So here’s that Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake that’s worth repeating:

2 cups finely crushed ginger snaps  
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 ¼ cup canned pumpkin (or cooked mashed pumpkin) Most recipes say 1 cup, but I like the texture better with 1 ¼ and it's not quite as sweet. Suit yourselves.
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves (optional)
Preheat your oven to 325°F   

Mix cookie crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.


Beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. 


Remove 1 cup plain batter. 


Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter using a large spoon. Do not overbeat or you will be a sad puppy.


Spoon half the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of the plain batter. Add the second half of pumpkin batter. Top with heaping spoonfuls of plain batter. Four seems to work well.  

Swirl with a knife to get marble pattern.

Bake about 50 min. or until center is almost set.


Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and transfer to a suitably festive cake plate. 

Enjoy every mouthful! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Here's a little bit more about Victoria Abbott, author of the book collector mysteries. 

Victoria is an artist and photographer and MJ is the author of 13 books in three other series, as Mary Jane Maffini. They love their book collector mysteries and are happily at work on The Wolfe Widow, third in the series.   They're very excited about the The Sayers Swindle due out in less than a month!

The Sayers Swindle, the second in the book collector mysteries will be out in December 3, 2013. 

You can click here to preorder The Sayers Swindle!

Or here for the Kindle version!

Or order through your favorite bookstore - in person or online.

And don't forget to ....

Watch the trailer for The Sayers Swindle!


The Christie Curse, the first book collector mystery, launched in March 2013 to great reviews.

The Christie Curse is also available in Large Print! Tell your local librarian!

 Walter, the pug in the series is a dead ringer for Peachy, Victoria's new best friend. 

 Come over and friend Victoria on Facebook

Tell  her  you love the pug!


  1. Last year, for the first time, I decided to change up my traditional pumpkin pie by using a ginger snap crust (from a MLK recipe!). It was a delicious change. It looks like it's time for another change - your delicious pumpkin cheesecake with the ginger snap crust will be on our table this year. Love that I can make it the day ahead!!

    1. Thank you, Sharon! I hope you all love it. And have a great Thanksgiving.



  2. This looks fantastic! Can't wait for THE SAYERS SWINDLE, ladies. And what a perfect titile:). and you also have the perfect attitude--let the cook relax too... xoxo

    1. I have been loving this Thanksgiving Week theme and will be adding a lot of new traditions. Looking forward to trying your stuffing. Thanks, Lucy/Roberta!



  3. What a fabulous recipe, Mary Jane. We willl be making it this Thanksgiving---Marc insists. Looking forward to your second book collector mystery, THE SAYERS SWINDLE. Have a wonderfully delicious Thanksgiving.

    ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks, Cleo! We have made many of your recipes part of our happy eating life!



  4. That's a great recipe! my husband will love it!

    1. Hope he does! Thanks so much for coming by!



  5. Looks great! I don't know if I will get that ambitious, but maybe........ Oh, and I love totes and dogs, too!

    1. Oh Carol, we love how much you love dogs here and elsewhere.

      Good luck!


  6. You're killing me here. I'll find a substitute for the crust and try it soon. Now I want pumpkin something!!!!! Thank you!

    1. Yes, I wish I'd thought of a gluten free version, Mare. I bet there are lots - just needs GF cookies. Or any GF crumbs with ginger and pecans added, I think.

      Big hugs!


  7. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Looks very yummy :D Hi and snuggles to Peachy (Yaay, pugs!) and those darling dachshunds, Daisy and Lily <3 <3 <3

    1. Back atcha, Ritaestelle! Victoria and I spent the day at the Village Market with Peachy the Pug - in her little winter coat. All the pooches send love back.



  8. I"m actually not a huge pumpkin fan-not liking pumpkin pie. At our house we actually have pumpkin ice cream pie! Now that I like. I also think I might like this pumpkin cheesecake. I'll have to see if my dog, Sam, will mind if I use some of his canned pumpkin for me!