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Devils' Advocate

The news site of Hinsdale Central High School

Devils' Advocate

Recipe to celebrate National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day

The pumpkin cheesecake was made with the recipe listed below.
Dana Karim
The pumpkin cheesecake was made with the recipe listed below.

Fall is a special season because of its warm spices, fresh flavors and crisp weather. I love baking sweets with the famed, fall flavors each year as the weather gets cooler: warm cinnamon, crisp apples and pumpkin spice.

One year, however, it just didn’t seem to get cold quick enough. My favorite tradition was fast approaching, baking pumpkin pie with a fresh pumpkin for my sister’s birthday in mid-October, but the weather hadn’t caught up yet.

I found myself getting ready to bake on a 75 degrees Fahrenheit day, and I realized pumpkin pie just wouldn’t do. So, I came up with an alternative: pumpkin cheesecake. I’ve been baking this fall sweet ever since, and I haven’t heard any complaints yet. 

National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, which is on Oct. 21, is fast approaching. This year, try baking your very own pumpkin cheesecake to celebrate.

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I’ve worked hard to curate the perfect recipe that anyone can successfully make. However, before sharing this recipe with Central, I knew it had to be 100% foolproof.

The best way to test out my recipe was to bring the cheesecake into school to hear what my fellow red devils thought about it.

Graham Wierzbicki, junior, was thrilled to try it because when choosing between pumpkin pie or cheesecake.

“Pumpkin cheesecake is best every day,” Wierzbicki said.

Suffice it to say that he thoroughly enjoyed a slice of the cheesecake.

Liking the cheesecake was one thing, but I needed to make sure that the recipe was doable for students with any level of baking skills.

“It seems much easier than a traditional cheesecake,” said Tiffany Tu, junior. “I could totally do this over the weekend.”

For further research, I knew a teacher had to make a judgment on this seemingly perfect pumpkin pie alternative.

“[It’s] amazing, the best thing ever,” said Wendy Orloff, math teacher.

This Saturday, Oct. 21, consider baking a pumpkin cheesecake to celebrate this tasty fall holiday.

Find my recipe for no-bake pumpkin cheesecake below!

Students Ryan Thomas, Evan Bots, and Jacob Truong enjoying slices of pumpkin cheesecake in multivariable calculus honors. (Dana Karim)

Cheesecake Ingredients:

1 cup (cold) heavy whipping cream (or 2 cups Cool Whip)

16 ounces (2 bricks) full-fat brick cream cheese, left out at room temperature

1 cup pumpkin puree (about 2/3 of a can)

3/4 cup powdered sugar (½ cup if using Cool Whip)

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Crust Ingredients:

2 cups ginger snap cookie crumbs or graham cracker crumbs

1/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

Work time: 45 min (with clean-up)

Chill time: 8 hours or overnight

First, make the crust:

  1. Crush the gingersnap cookies or graham crackers (or use pre-crushed graham cracker crust) and pour into a medium bowl. 
  2. Add the melted butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar to the bowl and mix everything together. 
  3. Pack the crust tightly into the bottom of a cheesecake pan (if you don’t have one, a pie tin will work). 
  4. Place in the freezer for 10-20 minutes to firm up while making the filling.

Now, make the filling: 

  1. In a small bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer on medium-high until stiff peaks form (you can flip the bowl upside down without anything falling out), about 4 minutes. (You can skip this step if using Cool Whip)
  2. In a separate large bowl, use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree and both sugars to the cream cheese and beat on medium speed until there are no lumps.
  4. Add the vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon and beat until creamy.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Be careful to not overmix, be gentle!

Now combine:

  1. Remove the crust from the freezer and spread the filling into the pan, smoothing down the top.
  2. Cover well with foil or saran wrap and cool in the fridge overnight (at least 8 hours)
  3. Use a knife to loosen the cheesecake from the edges of the plan, then cut slices with a sharp knife.
  4. Optional: Top with whipped cream, caramel, sprinkles, etc.

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