Sunday, October 18, 2009

Carolina Blue Birthday Wishes & Pumpkin Cheesecake Deliciousness

Today, I am honored to have my Kindred Spirit, Charity Taylor, guest post all the way from Chapel Hill, N.C., where the sky is always a little bluer and your heart is always a little happier. Charity shares my passion for baking, and is an incredible cook.

"Today is a very special day! It’s my best friend’s birthday! HAPPY, HAPPY Birthday Tina and may God truly bless you with a special year to come. Your abiding friendship is a gift to me each day.

In honor of your birthday and your favorite fall season, here is a recipe for my most requested version of pumpkin cheesecake. I started making cheesecakes several years ago, and this was one of the first I made for family Thanksgiving dinner. Each year I try a different one, but my family says this one wins the prize."

Pumpkin Cheesecake

8 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 32), broken
½ cup finely chopped pecans
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
1 – 15 ounce can unsweetened pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs

For the Crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crush gingersnaps in food processor to crumbs. Combine pecans, butter, sugar and cinnamon with cookie crumbs until the mixture holds together. Pat out in springform pan on bottom and 1 ½ inches up the side of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

For the Filling:
Whisk flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg together and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and sugar, beating until fluffy. Add pumpkin, vanilla, flour mixture. Beat until smooth, for several minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat into mixture.

Pour into crust. Wrap outside of pan with double aluminum foil. Set pan carefully in a roasting pan with a shallow level of hot water so that the water comes about half-way up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until set in center, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turn oven off and open door so that the cheesecake can cool slowly, for about one hour. Then refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours before serving.

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