Foodstuff: Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie recipe
What to eat when you hate this holiday’s classic food
Almost 10 years ago, I hosted a very small Thanksgiving with my immediate family. It was my one and only hosting of this holiday, as we discovered Christmas Eve was really my time to shine. It was also probably more likely one-and-done because … true confession time: I hate Thanksgiving food.
You would think I’d be over the moon about a holiday that’s primarily focused on the act of eating, but I’d rather stick a spoon in my eyeball than choke down a bite of mashed potatoes. Turkey and gravy? Blech. Cranberry sauce? No. Yams with marshmallows?? Don’t even talk to me. I’d prefer to sit this one out and cruise right from Halloween (candy!) to Christmas (more candy!).
I can, however, appreciate some twists on the classics. My brother, who in the ensuing years has hosted this holiday in my family, smokes our turkey, which seems to be a real crowd pleaser. I can also appreciate a couple of interesting side dishes, like my brother’s family’s cornbread stuffing, which has a Creole spin, with the addition of andouille sausage and bell peppers, and maybe I’ll chow down on a kale salad full of stuff (which we never actually have because my mom hates kale), but, overall, foul and potatoes are not my fave.
That said, when I did host, I started making a fun variation of a pumpkin pie, which is one of the few things I can and will eat on the Thanksgiving table. I like a traditional pie all right, but I do think the standard pumpkin and pecan could use some zhu-zhing. My spin was a hit, and I’ve made it several times since, to rave reviews.
This recipe for a pumpkin ginger cheesecake pie, which I discovered on Epicurious, takes some practice to swirl in a pretty pattern and avoid cracking during the baking time but is spectacular looking and tasting. Lighter than pumpkin pie but with the traditional fall flavors people love, it’s a true glow up on a classic that’s sure to please this November.
PUMPKIN GINGER CHEESECAKE PIE
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-ounce can)
Makes enough for a 9 to 9 ½ inch pie.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing.
1 ½ cups cookie crumbs (10 graham crackers or 25 small gingersnaps, about 6 ounces), smashed by hand or pulsed in a food processor
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Special equipment: a 4-cup capacity pie plate or cheesecake mold
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter pie plate or cheesecake mold.
Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up sides of dish. Bake until crisp, 12-15 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
To Prepare Pie
Make gingersnap crumb crust and cool before filling.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Pulse sugar and ginger in a food processor until ginger is finely chopped, then add cream cheese and pulse until smooth. Add eggs, milk, flour, nutmeg and salt and pulse until just combined.**
Reserve 2/3 cup*** cream cheese mixture in a glass measure. Whisk together remaining cream cheese mixture and pumpkin in a large bowl until combined.
Pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Stir reserved cream cheese mixture (from the glass measure), and drizzle decoratively over top of pumpkin mixture, then, if desired, swirl with the back of a spoon.**** Put pie on a baking sheet and bake until center is just set, 35-45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, then chill, loosely covered with foil for at least 4 hours. If necessary, very gently blot any moisture from surface with paper towels before serving.
*The gingersnap crust is really what makes this pie great. Don’t skip it.
**I don’t have a food processor, so I just finely chop the ginger, then mix all the ingredients in a stand mixer. You could also mix this by hand.
***I only reserve 1/3 cup, as it’s easier to make a pretty pattern with less of this on top.
****This can be tricky at first. I pour a scant bit of the cream cheese mixture in the center, then four to five smaller dots around the circumference of the pie, then swirl with a knife tip. Start by pouring a small amount at a time — less is more until you get the hang of it.
Katherine Roberts is a mid-Valley-based writer and marketing professional who is certain there are more closet turkey and tater haters out there. She sees you and can be reached via her marketing and communications firm, Carington Creative, at firstname.lastname@example.org.