Whitesburg KY

Whip up a pumpkin cheesecake with ginger

This recipe is adapted from Nathalie Dupree’s companion cookbook “Nathalie Dupree Cooks for Family and Friends” to her PBS show, “Food for Family and Friends,” published in 1991. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Karmel)

This recipe is adapted from Nathalie Dupree’s companion cookbook “Nathalie Dupree Cooks for Family and Friends” to her PBS show, “Food for Family and Friends,” published in 1991. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Karmel)

Pumpkin is so popular today that there is hardly anything that hasn’t had a pumpkin variation. Some of them are no-brainers, others are so far-fetched that I don’t understand who is buying them, much less eating them.

Back in the day, a pumpkin cheesecake would have been unusual, today it is almost old school. But if there was ever a meal that screams for pumpkin cheesecake, it is Thanksgiving. Or the day after Thanksgiving if you are a purist and need your classic pumpkin pie to follow your turkey and dressing.

I happen to love pumpkin, in pie, bread, muffins, cake and cheesecake. And, this cheesecake is adapted from Nathalie Dupree’s companion cookbook “Nathalie Dupree Cooks for Family and Friends” to her PBS show, “Food for Family and Friends.” I love to collect old cookbooks and picked it up several years ago at a second-hand store. I was looking at the book a few weeks ago and it is surprising how many recipes are either back in vogue, or still in constant rotation.

Reading the recipe in Natalie’s book reminded me how much I love pumpkin cheesecake. Her headnote said that she made it frequently for dinner parties because it freezes so well. This year, I am traveling before Thanksgiving so I made mine and it is in the freezer as I write this article. I hope that it will thaw beautifully and no one will be the wiser when I serve it on Thanksgiving Day!

I have changed quite a few things in her recipe but her recipe is what inspired me to make pumpkin cheesecake this Thanksgiving so credit is due. The one thing that I didn’t mess with is the crystallized ginger in the crust which is genius, and makes the crust more than just a vehicle to hold the creamy fall cheesecake. One of the key things is that I altered for my taste, is less sugar. I don’t like my desserts too sweet so I use a bit less sugar than the original recipe. If you like your cheesecake sweeter, add another 1/4-1/3 cup of sugar to the cheesecake mixture. I also put bourbon in my sour cream topping which gives it an added dimension and tastes like the holidays.

Servings: 16 pieces
Start to finish: 8 1/2 hours
minimum, best to make the
day before (Active time: 20
Chef ’s Note: I do not
pre-bake the crust or use
a water bath in this recipe, which makes it faster
and easier to make. If you
are accustomed to baking cheesecake in a water
bath, go ahead and do so,
but follow the timing in
your water-bath recipe.

1/2 cup chopped crystalized ginger
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/ 4 cups granulated
white sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/2 (1 stick) cup unsalted
butter, melted

4 packages (8-ounce
each) cream cheese, softened Zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie
1 1/2 cups granulated
1 15-ounce can of Libby’s
pumpkin (not pumpkin pie
1/4 cup full-fat sour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup full-fat sour
1 tablespoon granulated
1-2 teaspoons bourbon,

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Prepare a large (9-inch)
springform pan by greasing
the bottom and the sides.
If your pan is not secure,

wrap foil around pan to
catch drips.
In a small bowl, mix
crystalized ginger, grahamcracker crumbs, sugar, salt
and melted butter. Let sit
for 5 minutes and stir again.
This allows the cracker
crumbs to completely absorb the butter.
Press crumb mixture in
bottom of pan and up about
1/3 of the sides. Set aside.
Meanwhile, using
a stand mixer, blend the
cream cheese until smooth.
Add sugar, lemon zest and
pumpkin pie spice. Mix on
a low speed for 1-2 minutes.
Add pumpkin, sour cream
and flour and mix on low
for another 1-2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides and
add the beaten eggs. Mix for
another 1-2 minutes and
make sure that the entire
mixture is mixed well by
scraping bottom and sides
with a spatula.
Mix remaining sour
cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a generous teaspoon
or two, of bourbon and set
Pour filling into crust.
Leave a good 1/2-inch of
space at the top. If you have
extra filling, make a small
cheesecake. Set pan on
a sheetpan and place in
the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake 1 hour
and 20 minutes or until set,
but center of cheesecake
still jiggles slightly when
moved. Remove from oven
and spread the sour cream
mixture on top. This topping
will also hide any cracks in
the cheesecake. Place back
in the oven to bake for 2-3
minutes, just to set.
Chef’s Note: I only let it
bake for a few minutes to
set which leaves the topping
creamier and looser but will
solidify in the refrigerator
as it cools. If you like your
topping completely cooked,
let bake for an additional 6-7
Turn oven off; open oven
door at least 5 inches. Let
cheesecake remain in oven
30-60 minutes. Refrigerate
at least 6 hours or overnight
before serving.
To serve, run knife
around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Carefully
remove side of pan before

cutting cheesecake. Cut
cheesecake when cold and
store covered in refrigerator.
Can be frozen and served
after thawing in the refrigerator.

Nutrition information
per serving: 451 calories;
273 calories from fat; 30 g

fat (17 g saturated; 1 g trans
fats); 168 mg cholesterol;
296 mg sodium; 38 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 30 g sugar;
7 g protein.

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