Happy Endings

I've never been a big pumpkin fan. I'm not sure why. One thing I do know is that this has been a problem in the past when Thanksgiving rolls around and everyone is expecting a rich pumpkin pie at the dessert table. In fact, I've often made one even though I rarely take a piece. This year, though, rather than bow to pressure, I intend to include a pumpkin dessert that gives a nod to some of my favorite flavors.

Enter Pumpkin Cheesecake.

This creamy dessert offers guests a light taste of pumpkin with a swirl of creamy cheesecake and -- surprise -- it's actually relatively low in fat! Instead of biting into a piece of pie that ends up feeling almost like you're eating dense pumpkin, you get a swirl of pumpkin flavor blended with a light creamy filling. Surround that with a light graham cracker crust and you've got a dessert that's going to be a hit with your guests. Who knows? Maybe seconds are in order!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 3/4 c. fat free sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 12 oz. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2/3 c. canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup fat free sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese. Beat until well blended; add the vanilla, salt, 1 egg and the egg white. Beat until smooth; spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture into a small bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup fat free sweetened condensed milk, 1 egg, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and allspice to the small bowl. Stir well.

Pour the white cream cheese mixture into the graham cracker crust. Pour the pumpkin cream cheese mixture over the white cream cheese mixture and swirl together using a knife.

Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit in the closed oven for 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 2 hours, plus chilling time