This is my favorite Thanksgiving creation and any time I have some leftover pumpkin I make it…even if it’s the middle of the summer! I made it as part of my menu the first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my whole extended family…it was an adventure to say the least. I spent a month planning out exactly what I would make for my immediate and extended family. Now, keep in mind I have 7 people in my immediate family alone so this was a BIG dinner and it was definitely a comedy of errors…
I had this whole plan for the turkey which involved waking up at 6am to brine a 20lb monster of a bird which I unintentionally undercooked thanks to a faulty thermometer…ahem. We ended up microwaving chunks of the meat to make them edible. But, thankfully the dinner was not a complete disaster because my pumpkin cheesecake was a big hit. This new family classic was inspired by a recipe for double layer pumpkin cheesecake that I found about six years ago. The original recipe called to create two separate layers of cheesecake and pumpkin but after some trial and error I discovered that they actually tasted richer and creamier when swirled together.
A word to the wise, make sure your cream cheese is very soft so that you can whisk out any lumps because if you have lumps in the batter, you will see the lumps in the pie.
Now…sometimes my pie has lumps. It still tastes great. But, if you’re after good looks then you’ll need a little more patience than I seem to posses! Of course I’ve also revamped the recipe to be gluten and sugar free. I do still use eggs in my recipe but I’ll let you in on a secret…I forgot to add the eggs once and no one could tell the difference. So, if eggs aren’t your thing, feel free to omit them.
I’ve been making crusts with with various kinds of crushed nuts for a while now and I like the flavor and texture more than traditional pastry crusts for certain types of pies and desserts. This pumpkin cheesecake pie is a perfect example. Using a nutty crust with some cinnamon and vanilla to add the faux graham cracker taste perfectly balances the pumpkin and cream cheese flavor of the pie filling in a way that traditional flour just can’t touch. In fact, the vanilla, cinnamon and almond flour mixture is how we duplicate the graham cracker taste in my grandmother’s famous Peanut Butter Bon Bons recipe when making it gluten free for the family. And the best part is that you can modify this crust for whatever you need…for example, if you’re making apple pie, add cinnamon and ginger…if you’re making a cream pie, try adding cocoa for a chocolate crust…you could even add peppermint extract to the crust when pairing it with a chocolate filling for a decadent surprise. When it comes to the actual nuts, I also love to mix it up and use finely ground walnuts sometimes…there’s something about the extra oil in the walnuts that gives the crust a wonderful moist texture. Enjoy!
- 2 cups blanched almond flour (or ground walnuts)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sweetener
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 cup shortening or butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sweetener
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs (room temperature) (optional)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and vanilla.
- Add softened shortening/butter and work dough together.
- Press dough into the bottom of your pan and up the sides of a deep dish pie pan or a 9" spring form pan.
- For no-bake pies, bake piecrust for 15 minutes and allow to cool before adding filling.
- For hot pies, bake crust for 5-7 minutes and allow to cool before adding filling.
- Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sweetener and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time.
- Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir there are no lumps. Pour the batter into the crust.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.