Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake
This wonderful dessert could be called Happy Baby Cheesecake as I first experienced the recipe at a warm and loving baby shower for one of my dear friends. The hostess had kindly worked with her family to create a gluten free version of the same wonderful cheesecake she shared with the other guests, and everyone agreed that the gluten free version was just as tasty as the "regular" one. I felt both honored and overjoyed to be able to celebrate her new baby with this cheesecake.
I have adapted the recipe to my own tastes – e.g. my favorite brand of gluten free cookies (MI-DEL) and Z-sweet instead of regular sugar. I also found that the gluten free crust required more crumbs and butter to create than had the original crust. Ali’s recipe reportedly comes from The Cheesecake Factory, so full credit should be given there for the filling.
Thanks to my extreme (all day) "morning" sickness over the past few weeks, it’s been pretty tough to spend time in the kitchen... sadly for me, since the kitchen is typically my favorite place! The smell and even the thought of food – even delicious gluten free food – hasn’t been kind to me. Even so, it was a total joy to bake this gorgeous cheesecake for our Thanksgiving feast – and to share it with all those people I love the most. I hope your family and friends will enjoy it too! Happy Holidays!
Ali’s Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake, "Factory" Style
What You’ll Need:
2 cups gluten free cookie crumbs
6 – 8 T melted butter
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 ¼ cups plus 1 T Z-Sweet
3 eight oz pkgs of softened cream cheese
1 t vanilla
½ t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
¼ t allspice
How It Works:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
While the oven is warming, work on putting together your crust. Crush enough gluten free cookies (your favorite kind) to create two cups of cookie crumbs. At our house, we use a mortar and pestle for this process but you can also use a food processor or Cuisinart to blend the cookies into small, even crumbs. Next, combine the cookie crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of Z-sweet in a large bowl. Make sure all crumbs are coated with butter and that the mixture holds together well.
Using a 8 inch Springform pan, press the buttered crumbs onto the bottom of the pan and along the sides as high as they will go, uniformly distributed. This will make a crust that rises approximately 2/3 up the pan. When you have finished this step, place the crust in the oven and bake it for 4 – 5 minutes until it sets. Remove it from the oven and set aside.
With a heavy mixer, combine Z-sweet, cream cheese and vanilla. Blend until it is very smooth and creamy. At this stage, the mixture will still be a bit thick. Next, add the pumpkin, eggs, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Keep beating, using a scraper to make sure that all of the cream cheese is blended in from the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. The final consistency will be like very thick cream.
Pour all filling into the Springform pan and carefully return it to the oven. Bake for approximately one hour (50 minutes in our oven, which runs hot), until the center of the cake is firm and its top has darkened slightly. Remove from the oven and place your cheesecake on a wire rack to cool.
When the pan is sufficiently cool (room temperature) place it in your refrigerator and allow it to chill before serving, preferably overnight. If you don’t have that kind of time, try to arrange at least 2 – 3 hours of chilling time.
Top with sweetened whipped cream and serve! This is a delicious and extremely rich gluten free holiday treat.
Serves 8 – 10.