Saturday, November 1, 2014

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger Nut Crust

This time of year I yearn for pumpkin and squash with maple syrup.  I think it is a perfect fall dessert.  It can be a nice use of your Hallowe'en Jack-o-Lantern or a welcome addition to your Christmas meal or next potluck. You can even make it this week with any leftover cooked squash from your Thanksgiving meal.  Most of us don't need an excuse to make or eat good cheesecake!  The original recipe came from friends and siblings Nora and Guy Few who I knew when I was going to the University of Toronto in the late 80's.

Although pumpkin pie is more traditional I don't enjoy making pastry and find a cheesecake goes over well.  I use Grade B dark amber maple syrup that is more economical and gives a strong maple flavor. This year I bought two of the 2 liter jugs of grade B maple syrup from the Schlosser Farm.

Click on this link to go to a printable recipe.
MAKES 12 servings

1 cup (250 ml) ginger snaps, crushed to crumbs - Use gluten free version or cookie of your choice or even my GF Guppy Granola
1/3 cup (75 ml) butter, melted
1/3 cup (75 ml) almonds, ground
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ginger, ground
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cinnamom, ground

1/2 lb (250 g) cream cheese, light
1 tub (500 g) ricotta cheese, light
1/4 cup (60 ml) yogurt, plain (or cream or whipping cream)
4 eggs, medium
1 1/2 cup (375 ml) pumpkin, cooked (or squash, or sweet potato)
3/4 - 1 cup (175 - 250 ml) sugar
3 Tbsp (45 ml) maple syrup
3 Tbsp (45 ml) cognac, whiskey or rum (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) ginger, ground
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon, ground

2 cups (500 ml) sour cream
1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground cardamom
1/4 cup (60 ml) almonds, sliced

Preheat oven to 350'F.

1. Pulse gingersnap cookies onto crumbs in the food processor. Combine crust ingredients and press into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan.   I like gingersnaps for the crust but you can also use graham wafer crumbs or even Guppy Granola. Bake crust for 10-15 minutes.

2. Prepare the squash or pumpkin - either work well. I often use squash and still call it pumpkin cheesecake as I don't think the line would be as long for squash cheesecake!!  I use a hammer and my handy "kitchen spike" to pierce the skin of a small pumpkin or squash in numerous places.  Then I microwave on HIGH power for 15-20 minutes or until very soft.  The flesh has to be very soft or it will be hard to scoop out. 

Cool until easy to handle.  Use any extra for a pumpkin or squash soup or freeze in zip lock bags for later use.  If you prefer you can bake in a hot oven - 350'F - for an hour.You can also use canned pumpkin for this recipe.  Buy pure pumpkin puree and not the filling that has added sugar and spices.

3.  Puree cream cheese, ricotta, plain yogurt (or cream) with eggs in food processor until smooth. Add pumpkin or squash, sugar, syrup, cognac and spices and process again until totally smooth. Pour filling over base and bake in preheated oven for 60-75 minutes. Cool one hour.

4. Blend sour cream with maple syrup and ground cardamom and gently spread over cheesecake. You can also decorate the top with toasted almonds but I stirred them into the sour cream. Chill at least one hour before serving.

The dark orange vegetable family, which also includes sweet potatoes and carrots, outshines all others in vitamin A content.  They are also packed with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins B6, C and K as well as calcium, potassium and folate. As you can see this cheesecake is high in calories and fat - why we don't eat it all the time.  All things in moderation.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1/12th or 188 gram slice of cheesecake):  350 calories, 21 grams of fat, 11 g saturated fat, 110 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 17 g sugar, 2 g fibre, 12 g protein.  %Daily Values are 140% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 25% calcium and 4% iron.

Yours in good taste,
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc


Nancy Guppy, MHSc, RD said...

I left the butter in the crust for this cheesecake. Hey, it was Thanksgiving! Usually I would use a cup or so of my Guppy Granola for the base of the cheesecake. Healthy and no need for crumbs and butter. Just sprinkle granola over oiled base and pour cheese cake on top.

Daisy DeBolt said...

hey nance, I would like make this with less fat & sugar......
maybe with cottage cheeze, yogert, honey & maple srp. DZ

Nancy Guppy, MHSc, RD said...

I make it so rarely I don't try to make it too healthy! I think the ricotta is light and 7% fat and the cream cheese 14% fat. For sure you could use less sugar. I have made it with tofu with good results.