I’ve got a million things to do before my family descends on Sunday, so this may be brief, but it will be festive because I am going to do my Santa Claus thing and give away not one, but two of these gorgeous Cuisinart™ Christmas Red, Elite Collection™ Metallic Series, 4-Cup Mini Chopper-Grinders. All you have to do to be in the running for one of these kick-butt, powerhouse of a mini food processor (Power Lock Blade, Auto-Reversing, Smart-Power Blade ™) is to (of course) read the post, discover what day yours truly is going to be on Good Morning America, and then leave a comment telling me something about how you are going to spend that day!!
Here’s one desert I am making for the descending family. It’s my one desert answer to three other deserts, with two-thirds less work. It combines the spicy holiday flavors of pumpking pie and gingerbread cookies, with the creamy New York cheesecake heaven that everyone around here loves. I made a version of this for Good Morning America and brought it to the set on the day of taping (it was a pre-taped episode that will air on Christmas morning.) for everyone to taste. Don’t blink you may miss it as it whizzes by, but the recipe will be posted on the GMA Food Page on abcnews.com. Here I am with the anchors, and guest host Mario Batali (thrilled!). They are holding up T-shirts I designed and gave them …but that is the subject for another post, since I couldn’t get them ordered in quantity in time for the holidays. So but more about those (there are three fun designs I’m dying to tell you about) in the future!
The segment I was in for the show highlighted winners of the National Gingerbread Competition that takes place at the gorgeous Grove Park Inn located in beautiful Asheville, NC. I was an invited judge for the competition and had the privilege to introduce the winning entrees on GMA. Then Mario Batali and I acted as “judges” for a quickie gingerbread decorating contest between the GMA anchors which was quite hilarious. Again, don’t blink. I was grateful for the opportunity to be included in the segment and to meet Iron Chef Batali.
Now back to the cheesecake. Here’s one I made at home as a test and test away we did!
That may look like an everyday graham cracker crust, but it is NOT! It’s made from these lovely ginger cookies, getting ready to be pulverized by the sturdy RED workhorse of a mini-chop. (Secret: I used Mi-Del Gluten-Free Gingersnaps for my personal cake, not the GMA one…and sustituted King Arthur All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix for the flour so I could FULLY enjoy it…but you go ahead and use regular gingerbread cookies, or gingersnaps and add the flour if Gluten is not your personal nemesis.) Can I just say here that I am not being asked or paid to promote these GF products. I am just saying what I used, to save myself from answering emails about it later! I will say that, for gluten-free, these gingersnaps have a lovely crumbly texture and a satisfying pop of ginger, that makes me slightly addicted to them.
The final cheesecake is lighter and fluffier than the denser NJ Diner Cheesecake I’ve posted in the past. This is due to the addition of the pumpkin, and the sour cream, which mitigates that palate hugging quality you get with all-cream-cheese cakes. Cooling this at room temperature, then in the fridge for at least 6 hours will let it set up well before serving. Otherwise you may end up with a too loose interior…so keep that in mind when planning how far ahead to make this. Even a couple of days ahead would be fine. Just cover it tightly with plastic wrap so it doesn’t take on the flavor of your leftovers.
You can’t tell from the top, but on inside you get this really dreamy, marble-ized look if you don’t over mix the white batter with the pumpkin batter…
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday week sharing stories and food and love across many tables, and through many delicious meals. xoxo Rachel
PS. Don’t forget to leave a comment below to enter the giveaway! Two people will be selected at random from the comments list to get this shiny present!
- prep time: 40 minutes
- cook time: 65 minutes
- yield: One, 10-inch diameter cake
For the crust:
3 cups of gingerbread cookie crumbs (use whole cookies and grind to fine crumb in food processor)
9 tablespoons of butter, melted
For the filling:
1 cup plain pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature (5 block packages)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
Special equipment: Springform Pan (10-inch would be optimal. Smaller than that and you’ll have batter left over.) Hand or stand mixer. Regular or mini food processor.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring two quarts of water to a simmer in tea kettle or other pot that will be easy to pour from. Make the crust: Combine the cookie crumbs with the melted butter. Place the crumb mixture inside the spring form pan and with your fingertips, gently and evenly press the crumbs down onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan to form a crust. Take care to make the thickness of the crust as even as possible.
Make the filling: Place 1 cup of the pumpkin puree in a medium bowl. Stir in cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. Reserve.
Place the spring form pan on top of two layers of foil and tightly wrap the exterior of the pan. Put the cream cheese into the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a clean paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and flour, mixing until smooth and stopping to scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl to fully incorporate cream cheese that may get stuck on the bottom. Mix in sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, until just combined; try not to over mix and liquefy batter.
Stir 2 cups of the cream cheese mixture into spice pumpkin mixture; set aside. Pour remaining cream cheese mixture into prepared pan on top of the crust. Drop dollops of squash-cream cheese mixture on top. Gently swirl with a butter knife creating a “marble effect”.
Set the pan in a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Carefully pour enough of the simmering water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cheesecake. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, about 60 minutes (start checking at around 50 minutes, ovens and pans may vary cooking time). Turn off oven; let stand in oven with door slightly ajar 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Run a knife around sides of cake; unmold. When serving, have a sharp knife and a deep bowl of very hot water ready. Dip the knife in the water, wipe with a dry cloth, cut a slice. Then repeat that process with each cut and you will have cleanly sliced pieces.