Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie & Other Thanksgiving Ideas

Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie
It's already started. I spent an hour or so this evening making, what my brother jokingly calls "butter-flour" (pronounced buda-flah) aka pie crust, and in the next few days I'll be busy cutting apple and mixing pecans and melting chocolate for Thanksgiving pie orders, along with a few for my own Thanksgiving table.

I don't necessarily have a go-to Thanksgiving pie recipe. I usually make a few each year and like to switch it up, try something new, or bake whatever will complement the rest of the dessert table. Last year I made a Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Pie with Mascarpone Cream (which is also a by-order offering) and a Maine Blueberry-Cranberry Pie, and in years past I've made lots of others: Apple-Cranberry, Pear-Cranberry, and Maple Pie that was requested for a return appearance a few years running. If you're still looking for the perfect pie for your dessert menu, there's lots to chose from, and you can visit the Recipe Index for ideas, but here are a few specific suggestions:

-Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie (as well as a vegan version)
-Pear Tarte Tatin
-Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Glaze
-Fig-Pistachio Tarte Tatin
-Chocolate Chess Pie
-The aforementioned Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Pie with Mascarpone Cream
-Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, either with Maple-Marshmallow or Maple-Cream Cheese Filling
-Or go savory with a Tri-Color Potato, Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Rosemary Galette

Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie

Here's another that you might enjoy--A Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie from Gourmet. I've made it a few times now, for a baby shower (er rather, the post-baby shower sleepover), a friend's 30th birthday party, and the Pie CSA. In a gingersnap cookie crust, the standard pumpkin pie is sweetly spiced with crystalized ginger, mellowed with the addition of cream cheese, both in the pumpkin filling, and swirled in contrasting white-and-orange. The cookies and brilliant swirl scream kid pleaser to me (those over 21 might opt for the Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon pie) but the adults I served this to had no complaints eating it all up.

Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie
Adapted only slightly from Gourmet

Ingredients
For crust:
1 1/2 c. gingersnap crumbs
4 Tblsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 Tblsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

For filling:
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. crystalized ginger, chopped
8 oz. (1 package) cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1/4 c. whole milk
1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. pumpkin purée (canned or fresh)

Directions
For crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour gingersnap crumbs in a bowl and add melted butter, sugar, and salt until well mixed. 

2. Pat the buttery crumbs into a 9-inch pie pan, pressing mixture into the bottom and sides to form a pie crust. Place in oven and bake until crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature before adding the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

For filling:
1. Place chopped crystalized ginger and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until ginger is finely chopped and mixture is well combined. Add cream cheese and pulse until mixture is smooth. Add eggs, milk, flour, nutmeg, and salt and pulse to combine.

2. Measure out 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture and set aside. Pour the remaining 1 1/3 c. cream cheese mixture into a large bowl and whisk together with the pumpkin puree until well combined.

3. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the baked gingersnap crust. Stir the remaining cream cheese mixture, as it may have separated a bit. Drizzle the cream cheese mixture over the pumpkin filling, and swirl decoratively with a butter knife or the back of a spoon.

4. Bake pie for 35-45 minutes, until the center is just set. Let cool completely to room temperature, about 1-2 hours, then refrigerate at least 4 hours. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy!

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