Pumpkin Cheesecake

I would love to post consistently on this blog, (Third day in a row! Woot!) but I have a major impediment to my success in this goal, and that is finals. Although I have decided that I want to try pursuing my culinary passion full-time come May, there’s no sense in wasting final months of my liberal arts education. Right now my life is full of research and projects, but despite this, I managed to make time today to bake. It took less then an hour for me to go to the store and get the cheesecake into the oven, so that’s not so bad on the procrastination scale. It would have taken even less time if I had a proper mixer, but there’s no room for one in my tiny apartment anyway. I also lack a springboard pan and had to use a regular pie pan. I am clearly miles away from my dream kitchen, but moving on…

I googled a recipe from my phone so I could pick up the ingredients on my way home from class, saving even more precious minutes. Oh the magic of cellular phones these days! I found [a recipe that is no longer online], but I had to change it slightly to accommodate the ingredients I could find. Here’s what happened:

Pumpkin Cheesecake with an Almond Meal Crust

1 1/2 cups almond meal (or graham cracker crumbs, if you prefer)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine almond meal with melted butter and 1 T sugar. Do not mix thoroughly.
Press the mixture onto the bottom and partway up the sides of a spring form or pie pan.
Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Add pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg and continue to mix until smooth.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. The top will darken in places. Remove from the oven and let cool. When the cheesecake reaches room temperature, put it in the refrigerator until chilled and set. Cut and enjoy!!

Since I used a pie pan rather than a spring form, I had extra cheesecake batter leftover so I made these cute little cup pies, a la Pushing Daisies, which is one of my top two favorite television shows of all time. They are about the size of a fist and very adorable. I scooped the leftover canned pumpkin into the batter so the pumpkin flavor really comes through, and they are delicious!

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