I know pumpkin pie is traditional for Thanksgiving, but every year I make this divine pumpkin cheesecake instead for our intimate family dinner. By “intimate”, I mean we only invite my mom’s immediate family, and their immediate families. Which comes to between 40 and 50 people. This year I believe the magic number is 45. We would have topped the big 5-0 if it weren’t for my sister going to her in-laws…and taking her “plus 6” with her. We watch football and enjoy each other’s company for a few hours while the dinner fixin’s get situated on many many many tables. And then we sit. It’s pretty much just like a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Except we generally eat a lot better than toast and popcorn.
We use any chair we can find in whoever’s house we’re in that year. There’s always the scramble to figure out how many need to be rented. And there’s always a feeling of pride as you move from the kid’s table up to where the “adults” are sitting. I love that my uncle Jimmy (who’s only 12 years older than his first niece) is the divider between kids and grown-ups. He’s the perfect man for the job.
Anyway, back to the cheesecake. I decided this year to try a gingersnap crust instead of the traditional graham cracker. Risky, I know – but hopefully it will be alright. I’d hate to be thrown out of Thanksgiving dinner because of a cookie.
1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (I pounded mine to crumbs in a bag – or you can use a food processor)
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 (15 ounce) can LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
2/3 cup NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F.
- COMBINE graham cracker crumbs, butter and granulated sugar in medium bowl. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
- BEAT cream cheese, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk. Add cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg; beat well. Pour into crust.
- BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly.
- COMBINE sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well. Spread over surface of warm cheesecake. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan.