Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

I still can't believe Thanksgiving is next week.  Where has the year gone?  Here's another twist on a classic turkey day treat.  I found a recipe for mini cheesecakes in an old Philadelphia Cream Cheese cookbook. To fit with the season, I added some pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.  The crust is made from crushed graham crackers.  I think gingersnaps would also be a great flavor combination.
This recipe is very easy.  In no time I had twelve little treats. Cheesecake has always been one of my favorites.  I remember eating it as a kid and enjoying every bite. When it comes to my cheesecake, I am typically a purist.  Just a plain slice. No fruit.  Nothing fancy.  Oh, I'll eat it, but my choice would be plain.  The addition of pumpkin here is mild, but enough for you to notice.  Should definitely please any cheesecake and pumpkin lover.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
makes 12
Crust 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp sugar
Mix all ingredients until combined.  Press into the bottom of a paper lined muffin tin.  Bake in a 325 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare cheesecake filling
Cheesecake filling
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp half and half
Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and pumpkin puree until smooth.  Add  egg, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and half and half.  Mix until just combined.  
Pour filling over crust.  I used an ice cream scoop to fill up each muffin cup.
Bake for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool for at least 2 hours. Store in refrigerator. 
I topped these little cakes with Reddi-Whip.  Yes, the stuff from the can.  
For shame.  For shame.  Yes, I know it is completely un-blogger like to use whip cream from a can.  I should have lovingly made my own. Thing is, I was rushing to get these done, I didn't have any heavy whipping cream, I have a 6 month-old-baby that inhibits my baking, and I just happen to really like Reddi-Whip.  I sprinkled some cinnamon on top to class it up a little bit.  You can easily make your own tasty whip cream, but I won't tell if you want to use Reddi-Whip...and eat it straight from the can.
Vanilla Bean Whip Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon sugar
Whip all ingredients with a hand mixer or in your stand mixer until peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Hope you're all enjoying your fall days and any holiday prep!  If you're looking for another pumpkin treat, you must try these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.  They are my favorite!