Thursday, November 08, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake, No-Bake


The days are upon us: gathering together with family, friends, or sometimes even alone but still accompanied by a table overloaded with great holiday food. Pumpkin Cheesecake definitely hints of the holiday season and I find myself craving it come Thanksgiving. It could be the resurgence of pumpkin lattes, bakeries boasting of seasonal treats, or some misguided internal clock that designates that this time, is cheesecake time. However it happens, this no-bake rendition of a cheesecake, looks particular impressive despite its overtly simple approach. Make it at the start of the day and just forget about it until it's time for dessert!

Servings: 12 Slices
Prep Time: ~25 min

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 Cup Walnuts, Ground

1 1/2 cup Water
2 packs Gelatin, unflavored
1 cup Sugar, granulated
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
1/4 teaspoon Clove, ground
1/2 teaspoon Nutmug, ground
3 8oz packages Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Pumpkin Purée
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

If making the above crust, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Note: Two pre-baked 9" graham cracker crusts work well for this dish to further simplify and really take the oven out of the equation!

Crust: I enjoy the home-cooked taste in desserts, and crusts can really do that. For this recipe I used the same crust I made for the Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crumble, with a mild variation: I replaced the flour with ground walnuts and added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Since I was making a large cheesecake, I increased the recipe by one-half to cover the bottom and partial sides of a 12" iron skillet. Bake the crust at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until perimeter begins to brown. Set aside to cool.

Filling (Part I): Combine gelatin, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Heat water to boiling and pour over the mix, stirring well until sugar dissolves.

Filling (Part II): In a separate mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, sour cream, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Slowly pour gelatin mixture while mixer is set to low until thoroughly blended. Pour into the large prepared pie crust or cheesecake springform pan (or two separate 9" prepared crusts). Place in the fridge to set (approximately 4 hours).

After the second hour, garnish as preferred; I accented with crushed walnuts to highlight the nuttiness of the crust.

This no-bake cheesecake choice frees up the oven for the other holiday goodies and appears just as impressive as a baked alternative - with no time to cook and all the time to cool: prepare it, forget it, and be happily surprised that only a half-hour was taken earlier in the day to throw it together!

Nutrition Info (1 svg Filling): 
Calories 291, Total Fat: 21.6g, Sat. Fat: 12.4g, Cholesterol: 70.5mg, Sodium: 192.9mg, Carb: 21.1g, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugars: 19.3g, Protein: 4.2g 

Nutrition Info (1 svg Crust):
Calories 149, Total Fat: 9.6g, Sat. Fat: 2.7g, Cholesterol: 7.6mg, Sodium: 38.5mg, Carb: 13.9g, Fiber: 0.7g, Sugars: 5.8g, Protein: 2g 

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