The orange pie pumpkin was used for the cheesecake.
The tan pumpkin was used in making pumpkin bread.
I still haven't decided what to make with the white pumpkin.
Baking Time For Thanksgiving
Once Halloween passes, all thoughts turn to Thanksgiving. While I have only ever made one Thanksgiving dinner for just me and my hubby and baby (just one at the time), I do contribute to the larger family dinner. Usually my mother-in-law asks me which dessert I want to bring. I don't recall actually having brought a savory dish. Over the last couple years, I have made a Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake to contribute to dessert and with each success, I can't wait for the next year.
After Halloween passed this year, my anticipation of the family Thanksgiving dinner grew. I couldn't wait to make the crowd pleasing Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake! This year I decided to make two: one for my mom and my step-dad and their dinner, and one for the dinner at my in-laws' house. Every year, however, I seem to forget how time-intensive cheesecake-making is. Making two wasn't any faster. Maybe next year it'll stick.
Maple Pumpkin Cheesecakes
*recipe has been adapted from the recipe found in Better Homes&Gardens New CookBook*
First up, making the crusts. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Kyleigh helped me with the crushing up of the graham crackers. We put a little more than one package of graham crackers into a ziplock bag and Kyleigh smashed away with a small. pan. (Very therapeutic...and less expensive, too!) We were aiming for two cups of crushed graham crackers. We measured using the dry measuring cups, but put in the liquid cup to make it easier to picture. I melted half a cup of butter and measured out half a cup of granulated sugar. Add the crushed crackers and the sugar into the bowl of melted butter. Stir up well until all the sugar and crushed crackers have been mixed up with the melted butter.
Press the mixture into an ungreased spring-form pan about 1- to 1 1/2-inches up. Bake at 325 degrees F for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
While the crust is baking then cooling, it is time to get to work on making the filling. Since I knew I had two to make, I adjusted the ingredients. I'm guessing I did something really right because this year got the best raves! (The original recipe can be found at the end of this post.)
Start with four 8 ounce packages of cream cheese. Beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy.
Once the cream cheese is a smooth creamy consistency, add in two cups of pureed pumpkin, one cup packed brown sugar, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon maple extract. Beat until well combined.
Once all ingredients have been incorporated, scrape off the beaters and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Fold in five whole eggs. Scrape down the edges of the bowl again.
Gently pour the filling in to the crust. Pour only a little at a time so as not to go over the top of the crust. The recipe calls for the cheesecake to be baked in a shallow baking dish but I did not have one that the cheesecake pan would fit in. So I decided to bake it in the next larger sized spring-form pan that I have. There is also a water-bath option if you wanted to go that way.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 60 to 70 minutes; until the center appears nearly set when gently shaken.
Cooling Phase1: Remove from oven and cool on wire racks (yeah, I don't have those either) for 15 minutes.
Cooling Phase2: Run a small, sharp, thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it a bit from the pan. Let cool another 30 minutes.
Cooling Phase3: Remove edge of pan. Let cool another hour on the counter.
Cooling Phase4: Before putting the cheesecake into the fridge, I like to replace the siding of the pan and cover with aluminum foil to protect it from anything and everything in the fridge. Keep the cheesecake in the fridge, not the freezer, for a minimum of four hours and up to twenty-four hours.
Slice it up and enjoy!
Original Recipe from Better Homes&Garden New CookBook
1 1/2 c. finely crushed graham crackers
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
3-8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. pumpkin puree
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine finely crushed graham crackers, granulated sugar, and melted butter. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch spring-form pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.
Meanwhile, for filling, in an extra large mixing bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until smooth. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Beat cream cheese mixture until well combined. Fold in eggs.
Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place spring-form pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken.
Cool in spring-form pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small thin knife, loosen crust from sides of spring-form pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove sides of spring-form pan; cool for 1 hour. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. To serve, spoon or drizzle caramel sauce over top of cheesecake.