Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In Praise of All Things Pumpkin by Alison Henderson

I’ll admit it right up front—I adore autumn. The air is crisp and cool. The sky is blue. Even here on the California coast, a few trees and bushes turn golden. It’s also that wonderful time of year when I’m free to indulge my passion for all things pumpkin.

A few weeks ago, our local middle school held a fundraiser selling spectacular, hand-blown glass pumpkins. Some were fanciful in blue and silver, others remarkably life-like in orange with green veins. All were gorgeous. Since we’re still a few weeks away from our move into our new house, I restrained myself and didn’t buy any. It wasn’t easy.

However, as tempting as the glass versions were, the main attraction of pumpkins is the flavor. Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes—I love them all! With only two of us left at home, I don’t do much baking these days, but that doesn’t mean I have to do without. A new shop opened down the street called Nothing Bundt Cakes, and the name says it all. They sell several sizes of bundt cakes with cream cheese frosting in a wide variety of flavors. This month the flavor of the month is—you guessed it—Pumpkin Spice. It’s fantastic, comes is a bundlet size that serves two perfectly, and I don’t have to wash any pans!

When I entertain this time of year, I love to serve pumpkin cheesecake. I’ve tried several recipes, but this one from The Food Network is one of the easiest and best.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:

In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.



Margo Hoornstra said...

Fall is my favorite season too. Along with all things pumpkin. Great sounding recipe.

Jannine Gallant said...

Yum! Love cheesecake! I enjoy fall too, though for us it's a short season. Leaves are all gone now, and we have a little snow left on the ground from our first winter storm.

Alison Henderson said...

Jannine, it's hard to believe you've already had a winter storm. We barely have some golden leaves here. Of course most of the trees are evergreen, so I'm not sure it ever really looks like fall.

Liz Flaherty said...

I'm like Margo--a fan of all things pumpkin! It's been a pretty fall here in Indiana, but we know what's coming...

LizbethSelvig said...

Hi Alison,
We're expecting the first snow today back here in Minnesota. I'm sure you're glad you're able to indulge your pumpkin love without THAT! We usually grow our own pumpkins every year and always freeze a stash of mashed pumpkin for making goodies. It's amazing to me how many people don't "know" you can make pies out of "real" pumpkin. The filling is so fresh and light and tasty when you do! I'm definitely going to try your cheesecake recipe--it sounds fabulous. Miss you up here--but I hope you enjoy your California autumn.

Alison Henderson said...

I have to confess I don't miss the snow, Liz. I've never had a large enough garden to grow my own pumpkins, but it sounds fun!

Diane Burton said...

Your pumpkin cheesecake sounds so yummy! I love Autumn, too. We had the first snow of the season 2 weeks ago in West Michigan. Of course, it melted by afternoon. I can wait for the next one.

Alicia Dean said...

I LOVE Autumn. And I'm also a pumpkin fan. We have a Nothing Bundt Cakes here and it's AMAZING! I make a pumpkin cheesecake too, but I might have to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing! You ladies are really getting me in the Thanksgiving spirit. Now if the weather would cooperate and temps would drop so it will really feel like Fall!