Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust

Yesterday was a fun day for my daughter and I.  Her preschool had their first field trip and it was to the pumpkin patch and farm.  She was so excited to see the animals but what she wanted the most, was a pumpkin.  She had it set in her mind that she was going to make a pumpkin pie.

While at the farm, we saw a piggy race, she milked a cow, went on a hay ride, was chased by a chicken and picked out her pumpkin.  She talked about the pumpkin and "her pie" all the way home.

Here it is, in all of it's glory..LOL   It was a cute pumpkin though.

You know how it is when you get home after being gone for a few hours, you just want to sit and gather your thoughts for a minute;  NOT my child.   LOL  We had only been in the front door a few minutes and she was already planning out her next move.

I think she thought I had a magic wand and this pie would just appear.  She was so sad to find out that I had to actually make a crust, cook the pumpkin and then it had to sit in the fridge for a few hours.   I sometimes wish I had that wand too.

So yesterday was spent making this special pie (cheesecake) for her.  I will be honest and admit that I have not yet found the perfect gluten free pie crust.  With this in mind, I was a bit nervous at ruining this special event for her.  I remembered that I had bought some gluten free ginger snaps to make something fun with.  This would be the perfect thing to use those in.

I had to really stretch my brain and think if the ingredients in the cookie would work as a pie crust.  I was not convinced, but, they would work beautifully in a cheesecake.  I started pulling everything out that I thought would make a good crust and whipped it up…it turned out great!  YAY for me.

To top it all off, I had an audience of My Little Ponies watching my every move in the kitchen.

I then found a cheesecake recipe I liked and started the process of making the cheesecake.  I had to break it to Isabella that the pie (cheesecake) would be ready tomorrow or today (Monday).  I honestly think that I can fool a 4yo into believing that what she is having is pumpkin pie...terrible, I know!!   We shall see…LOL

I could not let this amazing recipe go to the "ball" undressed (so to speak)  she needed adornments and some bling.  What better way to do this than with some homemade caramel sauce and brown sugar whipped cream..  HELLO sweet thing…YES!  It was really good, and yes I did have this for breakfast this morning…YUMMILICIOUS to the extreme.  I am not quite sure how to tell if your cheesecake is a girl or a boy, but this one just spoke to me and she is all GIRL just like my 4 yo who will love her "pie".

Recipe:  Gingersnap Crust

2 cups of Gingersnap Cookies ( I used  a gluten free version that I found at Whole Foods)
1/2 cup of flour ( For gluten free, use 1/4 cup tapioca starch and a 1/4 cup white rice flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar (optional)
2 T. Crisco
4 T. Butter, cold and sliced
1/4 cup ice cold water

Crush your cookies in a small bag using a rolling pin.  You want your gingersnaps to be very fine crumbs.

In a bowl,  combine flour, salt, gingersnaps and sugar.

Add the crisco and butter.  Using your favorite method, cut crisco/butter into flour mix.  I like to use a pastry knife.  You can also use two knives or a food processor.

You should have a crumbly mixture.  Add your water and mix.  Do not over mix.

Place the ball of dough on to a piece of plastic wrap and place in the fridge.  It is not necessary to fridge for very long, but it does help the dough to not be overly sticky when pushing it into your spring foam pan.

When ready to use remove crust from wrapper and push into the bottom of a 10 inch spring foam pan.  I went up the sides of the walls about 1.5 inches.

Bake this crust for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and add filling below.

Recipe:  Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree or fresh pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not imitation vanilla)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

I used fresh pumpkin for my filling. This is a very easy thing to make. Cut and clean your pumpkin. In a large pot, place a steaming basket. Add 2 inches of water . Place your cut pumpkin into the basket and set your heat to medium high. The pumpkin should be ready in 15-20 minutes. Scrape the pumpkin away from the outer shell. My small pumpkin provided 3 cups of pumpkin puree. You can freeze the extra or use it in other recipes.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar and beat on high for a few minutes until creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.

Add this filling to the prepared crust above. Return to the oven and bake for 1 hours 5 minutes. The center should not jiggle when shaken and the edges should start to crack slightly.

Remove cake and let cool on the counter for 20 minutes. Place cake in the fridge for at least 6 hours. Serve with warm caramel sauce and brown sugar whipped cream.

Recipe:  Caramel Sauce
adapted from Alice Tea Cup

Caramel glaze:

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

Place the butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk gently until the mixture is smooth. Just as the mixture comes to a light boil, add the heavy cream and reduce the heat to low. Whisk well for 2 minutes, or until the glaze is thickened and smooth; then remove the pan from the heat.

Recipe: Brown Sugar Whipped Cream 

2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 tsp of vanilla
2 T. brown sugar

In a medium size bowl add the above ingredients.  With egg beaters, whip until thick.  I love the color the brown sugar gives the whipping cream, especially for this time of year.

Written by Sherron Watson


  1. Holy yum! This looks amazing! My daughter is the same way. She gets her mind set on something and she won't quit until I do it! Pushy pushy ;)

  2. i'm still drooling as I look at this pie. Please stop tempting me. I'm trying to lose 5 pounds here! :)

  3. Oh Man......I wish I had a piece of this now! Cheesecake is my weakness and so is anything pumpkin! :)

  4. This looks AMAZING!! I can't wait to try this recipe!!

  5. I'm not a recipe user, but I wanted to do something with pumpkin for a christmas party tonight and was just standing there scratching my head with a blank stare... came across this on Pinterest, REPINNED, and can't wait to try it!! :)

  6. My 7 year old boy.....to a T!


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