Growing up in the ‘burbs, their were Jack-O-Lanterns everywhere. Of course, the sure sign Halloween was over were the smashed pumpkins filling the streets by early the next morning. Damn kids! Ha!
I love a good Jack-O-Lantern but, eating pumpkin has never been my thing. Muffins, pie, tart, you name it-cooked sweet pumpkin does not do it for me. I love savory roasted squash and pumpkin but, have never been convinced to go the other way.
This wknd I am teaching a holiday baking class. I didn’t want a pumpkin recipe because, ugh, I’d have to taste it. But, what’s a holiday baking class without it, right? So I compromised. I found a recipe years ago for miniature pumpkin cheesecakes. Now cheesecake–that’s a dessert I love. These are a combo of regular cheese batter and pumpkin puree, swirled together. They look fantastic and, even for my fellow pumpkin pie haters, the pumpkin is pretty mellow and actually tastes nice with the cream cheese mixture. The bonus is, you can make them up to three days in advance. I think this is the fall dessert to make everyone happy. Give it a shot.
Miniature Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecakes
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure solid-packed canned pumpkin
2¼ teaspoons flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with foil liners and grease them lightly.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium high speed until very smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt and continue beating until well blended and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, about 1 minute-there should be no lumps. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed until just blended-do not over mix.
Transfer 2/3 cup of the batter to a small bowl and add the pumpkin, flour, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg-stir well, until completely blended.
Divide the plain batter among the muffin cups, about 2 generous tablespoons in each. Then, divide the pumpkin batter evenly among the cups (about 1 generous tablespoon each). Drag the tip of a wooden skewer, toothpick or pairing knife through the two batters in a random, swirly pattern to create a marbled look.
Bake until the centers of the cheese-cakes barely jiggle when nudged, 15-18 minutes. Set the muffin tins on a rack and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, 6 hours or up to 3 days.
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine by Abigail Johnson Dodge