The winter holiday season has arrived! Just past Thanksgiving in the USA, now families are planning menus for Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa…including favorite seasonal desserts, of course.
My hubby’s family has traditionally celebrated his late November birthday along with their annual Thanksgiving get together. Rather than making a birthday cake, we serve pumpkin pie or a classic cheesecake his Mom makes. But this year was different…
We left California in April, after living in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in northern California for over 50 years. Our families are scattered across the USA (California, north & south; Colorado; New Jersey and New York; Maine and Massachusetts; Pennsylvania; Texas; and Washington)…but not near our new home in the central Arizona highlands. So we hosted two celebrations:
- A Thanksgiving pot-luck for local friends, who also recently moved to Prescott, and for new friends we’ve met since arriving here ourselves
- Followed by a small birthday gathering for Bill, a week ago
Made TWO desserts for Thanksgiving: Our favorite Streusel-topped Pumpkin Pie which I like to make from fresh pumpkin (or heirloom pie squash) purchased at our local farm market (and then roasted in my oven). Plus another lovely, easy-to-make, open faced pie, our delicious Rustic Apple Tart.
Pumpkin pies don’t require much puree. Leaving plenty of left-over puree, even from a smallish pumpkin, to use in either savory (curries, soups, sauces, stews, herbed muffins, etc.) or sweet recipes (puddings, cakes, tea breads, etc.). Excellent in all! A more unusual way to use the puree is in this extraordinary, gorgeous, delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Ginger-Garnished Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes+1 hour
INGREDIENTS (Organic is best, when you can find them)
2 cups of finely ground Gingersnap cookies
4-8 Tablespoon Butter, melted
Organic Spice Options:
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon OR 1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger
FILLING (Adapted to be egg free):
2 pounds Neufatel Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups raw or Turbinado Sugar (*w/Ginger garnish)
OR or 1-1/2 cups raw or Turbinado Sugar (**w/Cinnamon garnish)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Salt (to taste)
4 large ‘Egg Replacers’ (I use Ener-G, formerly Jolly Joan brand)
1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger & 1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1 & 2/3 cup Pumpkin Puree (fresh roasted)
1 cup Sour Cream
*Finely chopped Candied Ginger OR **Ground Cinnamon
• In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs and melted butter, mix well until moistened.
• Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and a bit up the sides of a 9” springform pan.
• Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and salt until smooth. Add the egg replacers, one at a time. Mix well after each addition. Stir in the ginger, cinnamon and pumpkin puree.
• Pour the pumpkin batter over the cookie crust. Smooth with a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon.
• Bake in a preheated 375F oven 25-30 minutes. Turn off heat, leave in for another hour without opening the door.
• Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
• Chill in refrigerator for at least six hours.
• Spread sour cream evenly over top of cooled cheese cake.
• Garnish with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or finely chopped candied ginger.
• Unmold cheesecake by running a knife around the inside edge of springform pan and then releasing the latch.
• Cut, serve & enjoy!
YIELD: 16-24 servings