October is a very fine month. Death brings bright splashes of color to deciduous trees, soft sweaters warm skin on chilly mornings, and squash grows fat and ripe. Today's recipe, Two-Tone Cheesecake, showcases the Sugar Pie Pumpkin. Unlike it's common counterpart, the Field Pumpkin, Sugar Pie Pumpkins are sweeter and more tender, better for eating than carving jack-o-lanterns.
- 1 1/2 cups crushed cinnamon graham crackers
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
- 3 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 8oz can pumpkin (or fresh pumpkin, baked and mashed)
- cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves to taste
- preheat oven to 350
Remove 1 1/2 cups of this mixture and spread it on your graham-encrusted springform pan.
Add the pumpkin to the remaining cream cheese mixture. Add spices and mix together. As a rule of thumb, use more cinnamon than any of the other spices and use ginger the least. Add roughly equal amounts of nutmeg and cloves. Take it easy, and taste often until your tongue sings with joy.
Spread pumpkin mixture on top of cheesecake layer. To prevent cracking, place your springform pan in a water bath prior to baking. Bake for 1 hour (the center should be set, but jiggle like Jello). Turn off oven and open door. Let cheesecake slowly cool for about 20 minutes before removing from oven. This will also prevent cracking. Refrigerate several hours before serving.