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Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ohhhh…it simply does not get any better than this! Back in my pre-GF days, I used to LOVE it when Red Lobster would have their seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake on the menu. When I was in college and I lived with my childhood BFF, we would spend our entire weekly grocery budget and go to Red Lobster and chow down on Crab Legs and Pumpkin Cheesecake (I know, interesting combination). Then we went to her mom’s house and “grocery shopped” in her pantry! Those were the days…

Nowadays, if I want Pumpkin Cheesecake, I have to make it myself and a cheesecake maker, I am not! This is where I am thankful for celiac disease (this is Thanksgiving after-all!). As we all know, most things gluten-free look a little…different than their gluten containing alter egos. A few years on the diet and your expectations in the presentation category are greatly reduced. LOL! But ugly cheesecake does not necessarily mean yucky cheesecake! We, in the gluten-free community, can be fairly easy to please. We can be SO easy to please that when we come across something like say bread that really tastes like bread, right out of the bag (thank you Udi’s!) we may be prone to conniptions of ecstasy. Something a non-gluten free person just doesn’t understand…”What’s the big deal, it’s just bread Heidi. And why are you dancing like that? You are making my eyes hurt!” :-D This is where I like to have a little fun at their expense and I give the glutenator a slice of shelf-stable GF bread, straight from the bag (just for comparison purposes ;-) )! Oh, it makes me laugh just thinking about it!

Anyhoo…

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

2 cups Gingersnap Cookie Crumbs (I used Pamela’s Simple Bites Ginger Mini Snapz)
4 tablespoons Butter or Margarine, melted (I used Smart Balance in the tub)
3 (8-oz.) packages Cream Cheese, softened (I used lowfat Neufchatel)
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons Flour (I used Tom Sawyer’s GF All-Purpose Flour)
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 Eggs
1 (14.5-oz) can Pumpkin

  • Combine gingersnap crumbs and butter or margarine in a medium mixing bowl. Place mixture in a 10-inch springform pan. Press crumbs evenly over bottom and 2-inches up the sides of pan; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugars, GF flour and pumpkin pie spice in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add eggs and pumpkin; mix well. Pour into crust.
  • Place pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour (I decided to attempt my first ever water bath, see below). Turn off oven and let cheesecake remain in oven 1 hour longer. Remove from oven; cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
  • Carefully remove sides of pan from cheesecake. Makes 12 servings. Top with GF Whipped Topping if desired.

Cheesecake lesson learned: The night before making this cheesecake, I happened to watch a Good Eats episode on making cheesecake in a water bath. Unfortunately, I did not follow his directions and use a high-sided cake pan. I used my spring-form pan lined with foil instead. Alton Brown also said to leave the cheesecake in the turned off oven for an extra hour after the cheesecake is done baking. Well, I did this but forgot about it and went out to run my errands. 5 hours later, my cheesecake crust was rather soggy. So, as you can see in the following photos, my cheesecake is sans a bottom crust! The filling was so good though, that I just scraped it off and ate it anyway! :-) See what I mean about being easy to please?? LOL! So, learn from my mistake if you attempt a water bath for the first time: DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHEESECAKE IN THE OVEN LONGER THAN AN HOUR (and don’t use a spring-form pan)!

My ego really wanted to remake the cheesecake before posting this but I want to stress how much I am not a trained professional in the kitchen. Just a mom on a mission. So, if you do not like to cook because you do not think you are good at it, that’s okay…give it a shot and go on this adventure with me. We can share a few good laughs along the way. :-)

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