Thanksgiving Dessert Table

There are as many recipes for cheesecake as there are women to bake them!  Mine is an age old traditional recipe that a close family friend gave as a wedding present in 1963 and I have yet to find one better.  It did win every contest entered way back then!  When Mrs. Mitchell presented me with her family heirloom recipe(s) of Cheese Pie and Boston Baked Beans and Brown Bread I was elated and have never again felt as special as I did at that moment.   She vowed me to silence with the pie recipe.  I was never, ever, to give it out to another living soul.  I kept that promise until I passed the recipe down to my daughters.  This pie is expected at our Thanksgiving table.  Expected! 

 But, this year I wanted to cut down on the treats as only three will be sitting at the Thanksgiving table. My friends Kathy and Larry Zuckerman have been gracious enough to invite me to their Thanksgiving table and for a few days after to do some shopping and other fun things.  The Zuckerman’s are my family away from home and hearth while I am in California so totally far away from my children and grandchildren in North Carolina and Ohio. 

 I have agreed to do the dessert table for Thanksgiving dinner. None of the three of us want to load up on treats so I have decided to make Larry’s favorite, an apple pie and one pumpkin inspired pie and that’s it.  I began my search for the pumpkin inspired sweet treat for the dessert table and found just the right combination: A Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie which should be a wonderful blend of the two pies I can not live without for Thanksgiving. I could eat my weight in both!

 The three frontrunners are below. Trial run anyone?

 As to pies in general I find the simpler the pie recipe the better the pie.  I opted for cheesecake recipe #2 although #3 has my interest as well.  I think there is too much to do with #1 so maybe I’ll try this one for another holiday.  But I will try it! 

#1:  PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE PIE WITH GINGERSNAP CRUST – Content Copyright © 2010 Cooks.com – All rights reserved.

1/2 c. pecans
2 tbsp. sugar
1 c. gingersnap crumbs (from about 20 cookies)
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 lb. cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. sour cream, room temperature
1 c. canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground ginger
Pecan halves, for garnish

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the 1/2 cup pecans and sugar in food processor and process until finely chopped, about 20 seconds. Pour into large bowl, add gingersnap crumbs and mix. Pour in the butter and stir well to combine. Turn mixture into 10 inch pie dish and press evenly against bottom and sides to form crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. (Leave oven on.)

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until soft and well blended. Stir in sour cream and pumpkin. Gradually beat in eggs, one at a time and the cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Place pie dish on baking sheet and pour in filling. Bake in middle of oven for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool on rack. Arrange pecan halves around edge of pie. Makes 12 servings.

#2:  PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE PIE – Content Copyright © 2010 Cooks.com – All rights reserved.

9 double graham crackers, crumbled
6 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. sugar

 FILLING:

2 (8 oz.) cream cheese
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger

Prebake crust 10-15 minutes. Cream well the cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, beat until combined. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix until all blended and pour into prebaked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

 #3:  PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE PIE – Content Copyright © 2010 Cooks.com – All rights reserved.

PIE FILLING:

1 1/2 c. pumpkin
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

CHEESE TOPPING:

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs

Combine all ingredients for pie filling and mix. Pour into pie shell. In a small bowl combine all ingredients for cheese topping, beat until smooth. Pour over pie filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Now — for the Apple Pie I’ll make!

  picture courtesy of the internet (I don’t take credit where none is due)

Granny Smith apples are good for baking, and they add a tart contrast to the sharp cheddar flavor in the crust.

Crust: (still looking for Mum’s pie crust recipe so I might use this one)

  • 2 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2  cup  ice water
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  cup  chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Filling:

  • 10  cup  very thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 3/4 pounds)
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • Dash of salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  large egg white, lightly beaten

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 tablespoon flour and cheese in a small bowl; toss well. Place mixture in freezer for 10 minutes.

Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup ice water in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended to form a slurry. Combine 1 3/4 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheese mixture. Add slurry; toss with a fork. Sprinkle surface with up to 1 tablespoon ice water, tossing with a fork until moist and crumbly (do not form a ball). Mixture will seem slightly dry.

Divide dough in half. Gently press each half into a 4-inch circle on 2 sheets of overlapping heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll each dough half, still covered, into a 12-inch circle. Chill 30 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed.

To prepare filling, combine apple and lemon juice in a large bowl. Combine 3 tablespoons flour, brown sugar, and next 5 ingredients (brown sugar through dash of salt) in a small bowl. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over apples; toss well to coat.

To assemble pie, remove top sheets of plastic wrap from 1 dough circle; fit dough, plastic wrap side up, into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray, letting dough extend over edge of plate. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Spoon filling into crust. Brush edges of crust lightly with water. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap from remaining dough circle; place, plastic wrap side up, on apple mixture. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Press edges of dough together; fold edges under, and flute. Cut 3 (1-inch) slits in top of pastry using a sharp knife.

Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water; brush over top and edges of pie. Place pie on a baking sheet; bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

 Note from the author:  If you want a great site to look up good recipes go to www.cooks.com.  I think this site is better than Food Networkhands down.  Not to slam Food Network you understand I just fine the recipes I like more often at cooks. Some of the contents of this post are taken (literally) from www.cooks.com and other sites which appears not to be copyrighted so I used the apple pie picture and recipe.  If I have ‘stepped on anyone’s toes” I do humbly apologise.

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