- Nov 26, 2016
- central NC
(Jolts and Jollies)
The earliest versions of sweetened pumpkin dishes were actually pumpkin shells that had been cleaned out and filled with ginger-spiced milk, then roasted by the fire. In the 1800’s it became stylish to serve pumpkin pies for the Thanksgiving holiday, a trend that continues to this day with over 50 million baked yearly. Finding ways to make pumpkin into a unique, tasty dish instead of something that was just easy and inexpensive became a project for the women of the 19th century. Unable to vote and having little voice in public matters, creating recipes became a way for them to reach an audience and create their own identity.
There have been numerous recipes created with pumpkin as the central ingredient over the years. Here's a favorite that has been recreated from an early pumpkin pie recipe.
Ingredients for the crust:
1 ten ounce bag gingersnap cookies, crushed (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup natural buttery spread, melted
1 tablespoon brown sugar or Sucanat*
*Sucanat is an unrefined, unprocessed sugar that is a more healthful alternative to refined brown sugar.
Ingredients for the filling:
3 eight ounce packages reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup whole cane sugar or Sucanat
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Whole or chopped pecans for garnish (optional)
Directions to make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch spring form pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil. In a food processor, pulse together the cookies and pecans until they're finely ground. In a medium-size bowl, combine the cookie mixture with the melted butter alternative and the Sucanat. Mix thoroughly. Press the crust mixture onto the bottom and two inches up the sides of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set it aside. Keep the oven on.
Directions to make the filling:
In a large mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese and whole cane sugar until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Beat until smooth.
Directions to assemble and cook:
Pour the filling into the baked crust. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to get all the filling. Bake the cheesecake until the center is set and the edges begin to crack, about an hour. Remove the cake from the oven and cool for 20 minutes. Chill uncovered for 6 hours. Garnish with whole or chopped pecans (optional).