Pumpkin Cheesecake

If you haven’t noticed, I am in love with pumpkin. I could have pumpkin every day and not bat an eye. So when I saw this pumpkin cheesecake in the latest Holiday Entertaining issue from Cook’s Illustrated, I knew I had to make it for Thanksgiving. The recipe may seem a little daunting, but it’s totally worth it! One of the steps is to remove the liquid from the canned pumpkin. You won’t believe how much liquid comes out! Releasing the liquid helps make the cheesecake to be not so dense. But, it’s very rich and a little slice goes a long way. This has now become my favorite cheesecake!

I also made a simple thing of whip cream by whipping up 3-4 cups of heavy whipping cream, 2 tbs powdered sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla. I beat it with a mixer till it was a stiff consistency, but not too stiff so it would become butter.


Pumpkin Cheesecake:


  • 5 ounces graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted


  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (10 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese , cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 5 large eggs , left at room temperature, about 30 minutes
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.


  1. Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside. To dry pumpkin (see illustrations below): Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.
  2. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.
  3. Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (see note). Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.


  1. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated

Pumpkin Mousse

I got this recipe from our friend Connie’s cookbook when we were visiting them last year in Wilmington, NC. I had forgotten about it and then as I was organizing my recipes and stumbled upon it. When I re-read the recipe I knew my 14 year old daughter could make this easily. She had a good time making it too. I was very proud to see that she has remembered techniques I’ve taught her, like folding in the cool whip. When she was done making it we tasted it and was thrilled at how good it was. What I love about it is the lack of sugar.

I’m always trying to find low sugar or no sugar desserts for my husband. You can serve the mousse several different ways. You could make it as a parfait with broken pieces of ginger snaps, dip graham crackers in the mouse, or just eat it by itself. No matter how you enjoy it, pumpkin mousse will be perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert table.

Pumpkin Mousse:

  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 2 cups skim milk ( I used 1%)
  • 1 8oz container lite cool whip
  • 2 boxes sugar free vanilla instant pudding
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  1. In a large bowl, whisk pudding and milk together. Once combined, add the canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, stir to combine.
  2. Lightly fold in the cool whip, being careful not to mix too much. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and serve.

Pumpkin Bread

The leaves are changing and starting to fall. The temperature is also dropping, too fast for my liking. As long as I have pumpkin bread, everything is fine. This recipe has become a favorite of ours. The original recipe did not call for nutmeg, but I added it. I think nutmeg and pumpkin go together wonderfully. The bread was nice and moist. When you are stuck inside on rainy cold day, make sure you have all these ingredients and your rainy day will become brighter.

Pumpkin Bread:

  • 1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin or 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground or fresh nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  1. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and baking powder.
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs. Stir in dry ingredients. Pour into pans.
  4. Bake loaves for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans.

Source: slightly adapted from Dine and Dish

Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze

I had fresh pumpkin puree begging to be used.  Pumpkin scones were always something I’ve wanted to make and knew the puree would be perfect for them. I found the pumpkin scones on Brown Eyed Baker. The spiced glaze is what really attracted me to it and I must admit, that is what makes the scone really shine. When I was making the dough I found it was pretty soft, softer than most scone doughs. I added a bit more flour to them as I was patting them out and that helped. They turned out fabulous, there was the right amount of spices to bring out the pumpkin flavor. I’ve been enjoying these with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Pumpkin Scones:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter
  • ½ cup fresh or canned pumpkin
  • 3 Tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 large egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in a large bowl. Use a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious; set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half-and-half and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 3 times as long as wide. Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut each of the portions in an X pattern (four pieces) so you end up with 12 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

Spiced Glaze:

  • 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

Mix all the ingredients together. Drizzle over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (about an hour).

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Last year canned pumpkin was scarce due to the bad weather and much of the pumpkin crops were wiped out. We are still feeling the effects of that shortage right now, and it’s hard to find canned pumpkin on the shelves. I have decided to turn to making the pumpkin puree myself. It’s easier than you think. Sugar pumpkins are the recommended pumpkin to use. They are smaller and sweeter, but I could not find any at the store. I searched for the smallest “carving” pumpkin I could find and tested it out. It worked out really nice and I’m excited to make more and keep the pumpkin recipes flowing.

One thing I had not expected was the amount of liquid the freshly pureed pumpkin produced. I went and got out my strainer and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight draining. That worked! I now have a beautiful puree that is going to be made in pumpkin scones, pumpkin pancakes and whole lot more.

Pumpkin Puree:

  • 3-4 sugar pumpkins or 1 small “carving pumpkin”
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut the tops and bottoms off the pumpkins, then slice in half. Scoop out the seeds and stringy inside. (If using a larger pumpkin, cut the halves into smaller pieces)
  3. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, cut side down and bake for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until the color of the pumpkin has darkened. To make sure it is done, insert fork into the flesh; the pumpkin should be very tender. Let the pumpkin cool to room temperature.
  4. Using a blender or food processor, scoop out the pulp of the pumpkin into the blender or food processor. Puree pumpkin till smooth.
  5. Line a mesh sieve/strainer with a paper towel and place the puree in the strainer. Let sit in a refrigerator, covered overnight. The puree can now be used or stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Pumpkin Bars

If you have yet to get in the mood for fall, this post will help you. I was so excited to make my first pumpkin recipe for the year and pumpkin bars were the perfect kickoff to fall. When I made these last year I made them with chocolate chips. But this time I chose to split it and make half with chocolate chips and half with cream cheese. I did this for my brother-in-law and here is why…

This past Friday we were heading to my sister-in-law’s house for game night. My brother-in-law does not like chocolate!  Please don’t ask, I have no idea what planet he is from. In order to make him happy I tried the cream cheese frosting on them. I didn’t know what I missing! Next time I make these I’m making a double batch of the cream cheese frosting and covering the whole thing.

One of the things I did change from the original recipe is add some fresh grated nutmeg. The only spice it calls for is cinnamon and I thought a little more spice wouldn’t hurt. Thankfully I was right and it really brought out the pumpkin flavor.

I hope you are now in the mood for fall and plan to make pumpkin bars. They make your whole house smell like fall!

Pumpkin Bars

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup oil (I use canola)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large can (29 oz) pumpkin
  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Chocolate Chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Mix together eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin. Fold in dry ingredients and pour into jelly roll pan, 13 x 18 baking sheet pan.
  4. If using chocolate chips sprinkle the chips over the pumpkin mixture.
  5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Frost with cream cheese frosting, if using.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.

Source: Slightly adapted from Real Mom Kitchen