Pumpkin Cheesecake

Have a favorite Thanksgiving dish, recipe or tradition? Head over to our Facebook Fan Page to share the deets!

It’s Friday and it makes me oh-so-happy for a number of reasons. First, because it’s almost the weekend, which always deserves and automatic hooray! Second, because next week will be a very short week since it’s Thanksgiving. After today, it feels like it’s officially the holiday season, and I love every minute of it!

So today I’m wrapping up our fun Thanksgiving roundup with another very important piece of the puzzle - dessert! Since there was only 4 of us, we decided to skip the table full of desserts thing, and only serve one dish. I have to admit, while I am a sampler at heart, having one dessert to share and enjoy by all was a really nice change. Especially since it was light, airy and pumpkiny to boot.

Hold the phone. You’re probably thinking, Light? Airy? I thought we were talking about cheesecake here. Yup, you heard me right.

Since Lindsey isn’t huge on the traditional pumpkin pie, and I’m always looking to change it up, we decided on pumpkin cheesecake. And after gathering all my ingredients on the morning of the dinner party, I realized that the recipe we planned to use called for a 3 hour baking time (Now I felt like Ross from Friends when someone steals his sandwich, as I ranted 3 hours? 3 HOURS?!). Anyhow, we needed a back up plan and fast. After a quick search, I came across Paula Deen’s version.

And though you can judge all you want for her obsession with butter and generally all things terrible for your body, the lady knows what she’s doing. Her cheesecake seemed simple and quick to boot - 1 hour cook time, no pre-baking the crust, mixing everything together in one giant bowl. So we went with it. And the result? An airy whipped cheesecake set in a graham cracker crust that had just a hint of pumpkin flavor. Can we say perfect dessert for post-huge dinner? Though there were a few flaws (like a giant crack down the middle of mine!), I’d make this recipe again for its ease of use, quick baking time, and delectable outcome, despite its final aesthetics. Plus, what do you think they invented whipped cream for?

Pumpkin Cheesecake
*Adapted from Paula Deen
For the crust:
1 3/4 C graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter
For the filling:
3 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Special equipment:
9-inch spring form pan (I got one as a Christmas gift 2 years ago!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and cinnamon. Press into the pan. (Note: I found pre-crumbed graham crackers in the grocery store, which eliminated the extra step of processing them myself! Though I normally would not have a problem with this, the point is that even if you don’t have a food processor, you can snap these up. Oh and did I mention that they were cheaper than a box of whole graham crackers? Well they were.)

In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth (it’s best if you leave it out of the fridge the night before...I didn’t do this and it took longer for mine to come together, not to mention that it still had tiny lumps in it!).  Add in the pumpkin, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices and mix until combined. Add the flour and vanilla, beating until it’s all combined and smooth. Pour the filling into the crust - mine filled almost up to the top of the pan. Doesn't that look delightful?

Bake for one hour. Remove and let sit for 15 minutes. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. (Note: I made this first, before anything else, so that it would have plenty of time to cool!) Serve with lots of whipped cream if ya like! And I do like. 

So there you have it. A light, easy pumpkin cheesecake of which, admittedly, I'm still polishing off the remnants. So what do you think? What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

In case you missed it, check out how we brined a turkey at 3AM, made hearty turkey sausage stuffing and mashed up the perfect potato! And for even more Thanksgiving food ideas, check out our Recipes page, under Thanksgiving!