Tag Archives: cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust

In my family, we all love the flavor of pumpkin,  and are big fans of pie.  But pumpkin pie? Not really a favorite around here, but for many Thanksgivings growing up, pumpkin pie would be made and served along with one or two other pies as part of our family tradition. If you didn’t include pumpkin pie, it felt wrong, I guess?

Well, when all of the other pies were quickly finished and the pumpkin pie remained in the fridge barely touched, it seemed to me something needed to change.

So one year, when it was my turn to host the Thanksgiving feast at my house, I decided to make a bold move and replace the traditional pumpkin pie with a recipe that I had been developing: Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust.  At first, the idea of cheesecake after a heavy meal sounded ridiculously rich, but once everyone tried the first bite and realized how light and fluffy it was, they were hooked. We have made this cheesecake every year since, and have not looked back.

I included this dessert in a fall menu taught in my cooking classes a while back, and know many of  those people make this every year too.

I like the recipe so much, I even included it in my cookbook, Friends at the Table.

Why not share it here on my blog too?

So go ahead and drive to the store to  tackle your grocery shopping (if you haven’t already started!) and pick up the ingredients to make this cake. You can make it tomorrow and have it ready to go in the refrigerator on Thanksgiving day! No one will notice the pumpkin pie is missing from the table….I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Gingersnap Crust

 Serves 8 to 10

1/4 cup of sweetened coconut
8 ounces of gingersnap cookies
2 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of melted butter
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese
3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 (1-pound) can of pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon of maple syrup

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until golden brown. In the bowl of a food processor, place gingersnap cookies and pulse until the cookies are finely crushed. (You will need 1 3/4 cups of crumbs.) In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, toasted coconut, sugar and melted butter. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan with a removable bottom. Press the crumb mixture about one inch up the sides of the pan. Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
For the cheesecake: With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup; mix until well blended. Pour mixture into the pan.
Bake until the center barely jiggles when the cake is gently shaken, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 1/2 hours or up to 24 hours. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and remove the pan sides. Top each piece with whipped cream.


Green Tea Cheesecake with Fresh Berries

Green Tea Cheesecake

Spring is nearly here; the clocks have changed, giving us extra daylight at the end of the day, the trees are starting to bloom, and I’m starting to think about lighter flavors.

Next week I will be teaching cooking class. My menu is Asian themed:

Vietnamese Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups

Orange Ginger Broth with Soba Noodles

Roasted Salmon with Hoisin Reduction

Wasabi Red potatoes

Green Tea Cheesecake

When I am working on recipe development (which is pretty much all of my spare time) I recruit my family, friends, and neighbors to be my guinea pigs. Once I have the recipe just right, it makes it into my cooking class menu line up. I tend to gravitate toward Asian flavors in the spring. I guess it’s the clean flavors of ginger root and lemongrass that cleanse my palate after a winter filled with the warmth of comfort food.
I’ve included a bit of crystallized ginger root in the crust for the cheesecake; adds a bit of interest I think. I use loose green tea, ground to a fine powder for this recipe. The flavor is subtle and gives the cheesecake a nice speckled effect. Some Asian markets carry green tea powder (which eliminates the grinding step) but it can be hard to find…

Give it a try:

Green Tea Cheesecake
1 ¼ cups ground shortbread cookies
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger root
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 teaspoons finely ground green tea from about 5 tea bags
1 pint raspberries(golden if available)
1 pint strawberries
1 pint blackberries
Mint leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix together cookie crumbs and crystallized ginger root in a medium bowl. Press cookie crumbs firmly onto bottom (not sides) of 8-inch-diameter springform pan. Wrap outside of pan tightly with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Beat in green tea powder until smooth. Pour batter over prepared crust in pan. Place cake in roasting pan; add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan.
Bake cake until set but center moves very slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. Remove cake from roasting pan; cool 1 hour at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
Cut around pan sides to loosen cake; remove sides. Place cake on platter. Garnish cake with some raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and mint leaves. Cut cake into wedges.
12 servings