Pumpkin Pie Layered Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

>> Monday, September 14, 2009

Our fall season (hopefully longer this year) has arrived in Korea and little kabocha pumpkins have started showing up at the Thursday Farmer’s Market at my apartment complex. I find that they are sweeter than most pumpkins and squash so they often don’t need much sugar to satisfy me (my husband on the other hand is a sugar fiend so he needs a little pumpkin with his sugar). The sweetness translates well to savory dishes as Asians use them in a variety of ways, from soups with rice dumplings to tempura dipped in spicy sauces. We bought one kabocha last weekend and the smell from oven while it was roasting was heavenly. I’ve since used the pumpkin puree to make a sugarless pumpkin-macadamia nut mousse that was the perfect ending to yesterday’s stressful day.

This pie takes quite a bit of effort, but it's well worth it. The gingersnap crust really sets the pie off so a store bought or even homemade graham cracker crust won’t produce the same burst from the spice party that your taste buds experience with every bite. I would make a batch of the cookies and freeze 1 cup portions until you’re ready to use so you’re not in the kitchen the whole day making one pie. You could enjoy them as cookies alone too. They are boldly spiced cookies so don’t expect anything bland here and the best thing was no one realized that they were whole wheat. I need to trick the hubby into thinking he’s eating something bad for him in order for him to enjoy it more!

Since I’m in the midst of cleaning out my pantry, I’ll be posting old recipes without pictures until I’m satisfied with my new experiments. I’ll be at the parents for Thanksgiving, so I’ll post more recipes that the fam might like.

Gingersnap Cookie Crust
Yield: About 20-25 Cookies (Makes 2-3 pie crusts)

6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup evaporated cane sugar (plus additional for topping)
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar (optional)
6 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.

In a larger bowl (preferably attached to a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Add in the egg and once incorporated, add the molasses. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl. The dough will become quite thick so make sure it's well mixed.

You can size the cookie however you like, but I usually use a 1/8 measuring cup to make my cookies all the same size. Since this is for a crust, you can make them any size you like. I like to dip them in sugar and flatten them a bit with a fork as well. Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 12-20 mins (my oven takes longer). If you just want cookies, they'll need less time if you like chewy cookies and more time if you like crispy cookies. For this crust, I bake them for 20 mins. That may be 15 mins on your oven. The tops should look crackly.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, throw some cookies into a food processor to make a fine cookie meal. You'll need about 1 1/2- 2 cups cookie meal for a 9" pie plate. Add sugar if you like a sweeter crust (doesn't need it though) and melted butter and mix by hand until well blended.

Press crust into the pie plate and bake for 5-7 mins. Let cool completely.

Cheesecake Layer
Yield: Enough for 1 pie

8 ounces softened cream cheese
¼ cup evaporated cane sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla extract, and egg, incorporating well after each addition. Cover mixture and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Pumpkin Pie Layer
Yield: Enough for 1 pie

1 ¼ cups 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix!)
1 cup half and half
2 eggs
½ cup evaporated cane sugar
2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste, I like it spicy)
¼ tsp salt

In a large bowl combine all ingredients until well mixed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Pour cheesecake layer into cooled crust. Pour pumpkin pie layer over the cream cheese layer. Cover edges of crust with aluminum foil. Bake pie for 30 mins. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 mins. Watch the pie very closely because different ovens have different personalities. Pie is done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Bruce September 23, 2009 at 5:32 PM  

Archna needs to make this! Is this something that will cure "ails"?

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