Yesterday, I celebrated Thanksgiving #2. I thought I’d simply fulfill my role as dessert chef and the dinner would be just as low-key as Saturday’s. Boy, did I learn not to count my turkeys before they hatched…
If you had predicted that we would cook a Thanksgiving meal for 20+ people in my tiny, 4-by-5½-foot kitchen, I would have laughed you out of the apartment and told you to quit your job as a psychic. But I’d be very wrong.
I have no idea how we managed to pull off that feat. After baking my pumpkin dessert the night before, I was quickly elevated to sous chef, taste tester, and wise cooking sage as we danced our way around the kitchen, reaching for hot pads and stretching for spoons. As the windows fogged up like a sauna from the boiling artichokes and bubbling spaghetti, we raced against the clock to pack all of the dishes into the car.
Another promotion landed me the job of chauffer, and once we unloaded all of the food, I drove straight back home to deep-clean the war zone. With all of the frenzied food prep, I barely found time to photograph my dessert, let alone try it. But if the batter I licked off of my finger was any indication, this pumpkin cheesecake just might become a new Thanksgiving tradition!
based on CL’s pumpkin cheesecake
This may be our new “pumpkin pie!” Just as creamy as pumpkin pie and packed full of all of the same spices, this cheesecake will be the star of any Thanksgiving feast. Move over, turkey!
1½ c. chocolate wafer cookies
1 tbsp melted butter
3 (8 oz) packages of fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 (8 oz) packages of ⅓-less-fat cream cheese, softened
½ c. granulated sugar
½ c. packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin purée
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Coat a 9” springfoam pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- Grind the chocolate cookies into fine crumbs in a food processor, about 2-3 min. Add the butter and pulse, 8-10 times, until it resembles a coarse meal. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and cook for 8 min at 400°. Remove from oven and let it cool on a wire rack.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.
- Cream the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add both sugars, flour, spices, salt, and vanilla. Mix until everything is incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the pumpkin, mixing well.
- Pour the cheese mixture on top of the prepared crust. Bake at 325° for 55-65 minutes or until the center barely jiggles when the pan is touched. Cool completely to room temperature, and then cover and chill 8 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator before serving.