So even though I’m in Florida, I can feel fall in the air. It’s mid-September, for crying out loud! And despite the scorching sun and abundant palm trees, I can feel the shift in the wind that means these long days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting milder. And with this shift, I find my heart is aching for some good old fashioned tastes of the season. I am yearning for hot apple cider and the smell of raked leaves… I am tired of summer salads and want to tuck in to comforting casseroles that lift my spirits and make me feel at peace with the world.
But the one thing that really says autumn to me is the delicious decadence of PUMPKIN. I’ve been indulging in every way I know how. I’ve got pumpkin-scented candles burning, I have hit Starbucks for my first Pumpkin Spiced Latte in YEARS, and last night, I baked a beautiful Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Believe me when I tell you that I would rather have made a plain old pumpkin pie. But I know my fiance, and he’s not that big on pumpkin (SACRILEGE!). But he does like cheesecake. So I took the best of both worlds and made this fabulous two-layer pumpkin cheesecake which could appeal to us both.
I also must add that my 19 month old son LOVED it and ate most of my piece!
What makes this so delicious is that it’s not overwhelmingly pumpkin-y. You get a hint of this seasonal favorite without forgetting that this is, in essence, a cheesecake. And as you can see from the photo to the left, there are two distinct layers to it. So I suppose that if someone REALLY didn’t like pumpkin, they could scrape off the top layer and just eat the plain cheesecake.
But I don’t recommend it! ;)
Anyway, on to the recipe!
- 16 oz room-temperature cream cheese
- 1/2 C white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 C pumpkin puree (fresh is best, but out of a can is FINE)
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 prepared graham cracker pie crust
- 1 C Cool Whip (or your favorite whipped cream)
- In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar with a mixer. Make sure the cream cheese is room temperature so it will be soft enough. Cold cream cheese will not mix properly and will leave your cheesecake looking and feeling curdled!
- Add in each egg, one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Take the prepared pie crust and add in about 1 and a 1/2 C of the cream cheese mixture, spreading across the bottom of the pan.
- Add in the pumpkin puree and the pumpkin pie spice to the rest of the cream cheese mixture and stir it until it is well combined.
- Using a spoon, gently scoop the pumpkin mixture on TOP of the first layer in the pie crust.
- Make sure that you are gentle, as if you try and pour it on top, it will simply mix in with the bottom layer and create a marble effect. This defeats the whole purpose of dual-layer!
- Place the pie on a cookie sheet and set the whole lot into an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until it is set. You should be able to press the middle and have it spring back.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 2 hours on the counter.
- Once cool, place the whole thing in the fridge for another 2 hours or so.
- When you are ready to serve, bring out the cheesecake and “frost” the whole thing with a layer of Cool Whip. It looks great if you make peaks in the cream, but you can smooth it if you’ve got the patience.
- Serve right away or keep it covered in the fridge for up to about 5 days.