Reader Recipe Request

As requested, I am finally getting around to posting the second recipe I made for Thanksgiving, Pumpkin Cheescake Pie from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. You’ll notice that some of the ingredients are in volume (aka cups) and weight (aka ounces) measurements. This is one of the many reasons I love King Arthur Flour books. For many ingredients, it is so much easier, and more precise, to measure by weight. You stick your bowl on the scale, zero it out, then start adding your ingredients, zeroing out the weight between each one. Faster, easier, and fewer cups and spoons to wash. I never did this until I enrolled in pastry school, and then I wondered how I ever managed to bake before. Especially when measuring flour, my goodness.

Anyway, I don’t have any really great photos of the nice, bilayered slices. But this dessert was a smashing success. It’s not as calorific as some desserts, either, thanks to the layer of pumpkin. If you truly cut the pie into 10 slices (I did 8), one slice has 274 calories…which isn’t much considering that a slice of many desserts can top 500 calories. One substitution note: I did use lower fat cream cheese (neufchatel) instead of regular cream cheese. I’ve done this for years in cheesecake recipes, and never had a problem with the recipes turning out. However, do NOT substitute fat free cream cheese! The consistency is different enough that unless you are using a recipe specifically written for the fat free stuff, you might have a baking mishap.

I opted for a gingersnap crust. I used Anna’s Ginger Thins from Costco, and one sleeve of cookies was exactly the right amount for the recipe. Spooky! To make this crust, in a medium bowl simply combine 2 cups (10.75 ounces) crushed-to-crumbs gingersnaps with 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick or 3 ounces) melted butter and 1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioners’ sugar. Once combined, press the mixture into your pie plate and blind-bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees (until the crust is just set and you smell the cookies toasting). Remove and cool on a rack before filling.

Pumpkin Cheescake Pie
Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • One 9-inch single piecrust or gingersnap crust, blind baked

Cheescake Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup diced crystallized ginger (optional, but good)

Pumpkin Filling

  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup (9.5 ounces) canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2/3 cup (5.75 ounces) light cream or evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions:
Cheesecake Filling

  1. Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl and let it warm up to room temperature (this will make it easier to beat).
  2. When it has warmed, add the sugar and beat until fairly smooth. It may appear grainy, or a few lumps may remain; that’s OK.
  3. Stir in the egg, vanilla and crystallized ginger and spoon the filling into the piecrust.

Pumpkin Filling

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and spices.
  2. Add the pumpkin, cream and eggs and whisk gently until smooth. (You don’t want to beate a lot of air into this mixture; just be sure it’s thoroughly combined.)
  3. Gently spoon the pumpkin filling atop the cheescake layer, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top of the crust. Do this carefully at first, so you don’t disturb the cheesecake layer; once you’ve covered the cheescake, you can be less careful.
  4. Depending on the depth of your pie pan, you may have leftover filling. Simply pour it into a custard cup or other small baking dish and bake it along with the pie, removing it from the oven when it appears set and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Baking

  1. If you’re using a pastry piecrust, place the pie in a preheated 425 degree oven and bake it for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 40 to 45 minutes, covering the edges of the pie with a crust shield or alumninum foil if it seems to be browning too quickly.
  2. If you’ve prepared the pie with a gingersnap crust, bake it in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
  3. The pie is done when it looks set but still wobbles a bit in the center when you jiggle it. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the pie will register 165 degrees at its center when its done.)
  4. Remove the pie from the oven, allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it until serving time. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with a pinch of ginger and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.