Thursday, October 27, 2011
Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I've been working with seasonal desserts this week. I was especially interested in those that can be made ahead of time and frozen. My focus has been on pumpkin and apple cheesecakes. The holidays are coming, and with them come a stream of visitors who need to be entertained in a gracious, yet easy, manner. I try to keep things simple and the freezer helps me do that. The cheesecakes fall into a dessert category that I use for unexpected guests. I like to bake them, cut them into bars or squares and then freeze them to use when needed. They defrost quickly and are wonderful to serve with coffee or tea. I must quickly add that I don't serve cheesecake at the end of a meal. I think they are way too rich for that, but they're perfect to serve as stand alone offerings. This is the easiest of the recipes I've been experimenting with. I really think you'll like it. The ingredient list may look a bit long, but that's because of the number of spices that are used to flavor the cake. I'll reveal the other recipes next week. Here's the recipe for today's cheesecake.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup gingerbread cookie crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 (15 ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2) Combine crust ingredients. Remove 1/2 cup of mixture and set aside. Firmly press remainder of crumbs onto bottom of prepared pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
3) Combine cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Beat in canned pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, mace, nutmeg, cloves, salt, vanilla and orange zest. Add eggs and heavy cream and beat on low speed until just combined. Pour filling over crust.
4) Bake for 35-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour; then cover and chill for at least 8 hours. I chill them overnight. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs just before cutting cake into squares. Yield: 20 servings.
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