Last year my organic garden seed supplier had a special on pie pumpkin seeds, so I decided to grow pie pumpkins for the first year ever. The six vines I planted next to my backyard fence produced over 100 pounds of good pie pumpkins. This left me with a problem: I can only eat so many pumpkin pies. I can only give my neighbors and friends so many pumpkin pies. I did find the pumpkins work well in pumpkin soup (something I absolutely love) but I still needed something different. I recently found it: pumpkin cheesecake. I tried many recipes and finally came up with one all my own that I love. The pumpkin makes the cheesecake super moist, and it stays that way for days.
One warning: if you bake the pumpkin cheesecake without a water bath it will likely crack on the top. I'm ok with this; I think it adds to the rustic, homemade look. If the cracks present are an issue for you, you will want to use a traditional Bain Marie, or water bath, and extend the baking time by 15 minutes. This should stop the cake from cracking.
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I like to use homemade, whole grain graham crackers for this)
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground mace
4 ounces of melted salted butter
One small to medium pie pumpkin (it will need to produce 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups pumpkin purée)
24 ounces of cream cheese (cultured cream cheese adds the best flavor, if you are able to find it I highly suggest using it)
3 whole large chicken eggs plus one extra egg yolk
1/4 cup of full-fat sour cream
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground mace
1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
2 tablespoons of all-purpose white flour
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
Heat your toaster oven to 450 degrees F.
Split the pie pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy stuff. Rub each half lightly with the oil of your choice (I like to use coconut oil.) Bake until soft all the way through, this should take about 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then scoop out the cooked pumpkin flesh and purée it in your food processor. Set aside.
Lower the temperature of your toaster oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground mace and 4 ounces of melted butter in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well. Press into the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside and allow the crust to cool.
Put the softened, room-temperature cream cheese into a stand mixer fitted with the beater paddle. Beat until it is completely smooth. Add the pumpkin puree. Beat till both are smooth and combined. Add the chicken eggs and the yolk one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the sour cream, beat everything again. Add the sugar, beat again. Add the brown sugar, beat again. Add the cinnamon, mace, cloves, sea salt, flour and pure vanilla extract. Beat againtill everything is very well combined and quite smooth.
Pour the cheescake filling into the prepared crust. Bake for one hour, rotating it halfway after 30 minutes. Turn the toaster oven off, but don't open it and leave the cheesecake in the toaster oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the toaster oven and let cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for four hours. It is important to completely chill the cheesecake before slicing; this will ensure it is properly set.
Tips And Suggestions
Put a small cup (oven proof of course) of water in the corner of your toaster oven while baking the cheesecake. This will minimize, but not eliminate, the cracks.
I have also made this recipe with butternut squash; the flavor is almost identical. You will need a small butternut squash or you can simply measure out 1 1/2 cups of the pureed squash and use the rest for something else.