Thursday, November 19, 2009

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

I have been promising a pumpkin cheesecake to the previously mentioned snarky friend for something awful like 3 years now. I used to make this recipe quite often and usually for Thanksgiving, so unlike my friend, it might be just in time for you. The original is ultra easy because it uses a pre-made graham cracker crust. However, I don't know if you have ever really looked at them, but they contain a ridiculous amount of trans fat, 2 g per "serving". That's more than recommend daily maximum and there's no way I get 8 servings out of that little thing, so you'd be eating even more. Ok, I am finished with my health rant for the day-I know, know this is a cheesecake! Anyhow, this discovery coupled with the recent crust revelation generated a "kicked-up" homemade crust. Because this was meant to be made in a 6 oz. crust, it's a smaller (shallower) cheesecake than some others, but it does give more of a pumpkin pie feel. I also add more pumkin than the recipe calls for so it doesn't set-up as hard, but you'll thank me later.

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
adapted from Kraft Foods

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs (preferably homemade)
1/3 c. melted butter
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2-8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
large pinch each of cloves and nutmeg-about 1/16 tsp. ;)

1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Combine graham crackers crumbs, butter, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and stir to mix. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform or pie pan.
3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended.
4. Remove 1 cup of the batter and place in another bowl. Stir in the pumpkin and spices.
5. Pour remaining plain batter into crust. Carefully, top with pumpkin batter.
6. Bake for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

A tip for packing the crust into the pan: use a flat bottom measuring cup! Press firmly all the way around. I learned this trick from Paula Deen. It also makes it easy to push the crumbs up the side of the pan. Enjoy!

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