A Gift for You

I don't really believe my home is highly different than most others out there. This time of the year is hectic. Don't get me wrong: it's also joyful, festive, and fun. But there are days when, at the end of it all, I can barely catch my breath. And I think that probably happens to you, too. So what would you say if I told you that about 15 minutes of hands-on time could give you a dessert plate that looks like this:

Consider it my Christmas present to you. A beautiful, absolutely decadent slice of frozen cheesecake that will cut out the long preparation and baking time involved in traditional cheesecake. Just make sure you have some space in the freezer, a springform pan, and the ingredients below. I love using my own roasted and pureed pumpkin, but this dessert will also work beautifully with pumpkin out of the can and, if you don't already have pumpkin puree around, a can will make this fast and easy and that's what this recipe is all about.

I serve slices of this drizzled with leftover pumpkin caramel sauce from another recipe I featured about a month ago, but again, use something out of a jar that you like if you don't already have this on hand. This recipe is about buying back a bit of time for yourself in the middle of a busy time of the year. Save the oven for roasting elaborate roasts, hams, and turkeys. Get fussy with last minute touches elsewhere in your life. This time, dessert is all about making your life easier. Enjoy your holidays!

No Bake Frozen Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 2 sleeves cinnamon graham crackers -- finely crushed
  • 3 T. light brown sugar
  • 6 T. salted butter
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (either roast and puree your own pumpkin or use canned)
  • 1 (8 ounces) package light cream cheese
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (15 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 ounces) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Empty the graham cracker crumbs into a medium sized bowl and stir in the brown sugar. Soften the butter and combine with the crumb and brown sugar mixture. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a springform pan. Place the pan in the freezer while you make the filling for the pie.

In the same bowl you used for the crumbs, beat the cream cheese for about a minute. Add the pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) and pumpkin pie spice. Continue to beat the mixture until combined.

Slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk and beat until the mixture is completely combined and smooth. Using a spatula, fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping just until combined. Be careful to not overmix the filling.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared crust and carefully crimp aluminum foil over the top of the springform pan. Freeze overnight or for 6-8 hours. Allow the cheesecake to soften at room temperature for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. If desired, serve with pumpkin caramel sauce or your favorite caramel sauce.

  • Yields: 12-14 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes + freezing time