Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, and More Pumpkins!

Yes, that has been my fall.  A neighbor grows a plethora of pumpkins and shares them with me and anyone else who will take them.  She had so many that she was giving them away out of the trunk of her car.  Kind of like an old lady drug dealer.

Now, I too, have an abundance of pumpkins.  I decided to step out of the pumpkin pie routine and try a cheesecake.  Since traditional cheesecake is loaded with fat and calories, I also decided to try and make one with less fat while retaining the flavor of a traditional pumpkin cheesecake (aka, full fat).

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serves 12.


1 cup ground gingersnap cookies
1 cup walnut halves or pieces, divided
2 Tablespoons butter
1 container (12 ounce) reduced fat cottage cheese
2 packages (8 ounce) reduced fat cream cheese
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 large eggs
2 cups pureed pumpkin


1.       Preheat oven to 325°F.

2.      Wrap the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan with aluminum foil.  Grind cup of walnuts in a food processor.  In a small bowl, combine cookies, walnuts and butter. Press into the bottom of pan.  Set aside.

3.       In a food processor, combine cottage and cream cheeses.  Pulse until thoroughly combined.  Add both sugars and blend again.  Add spices, vanilla, eggs and pumpkin.  Pulse until completely blended. 

4.       Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake cheese cake at 325°F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  The center should not be set.  The cake should giggle slightly when shaken.

5.       Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

6.       To serve, top with toasted or candied walnuts (recipe follows).

Candied Walnuts

1.        Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.       In a medium skillet combine ¼ cup of sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon honey.  Stir to combine.  Cook mixture until it reached a light golden brown color, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add ⅔ cup of walnuts and stir.  Cook until mixture turns a deep golden brown color, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn on parchment paper.  When cooled completely, break into clusters.

We hope you enjoy or version of pumpkin cheesecake.  Our foodie colleagues thought it passed the test.

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