Schatzi: Like many people, I sometimes like to experiment with my Thanksgiving (or any holiday, for that matter) desserts. I tend to keep mine thematically pumpkin, because we rarely had anything else when I was growing up, no apple pie or sweet potato. I meant to do a sweet potato pie this year, but I’ve got so many pumpkin themed requests that I don’t think I’ll be able to fit it in. For my mother’s last Thanksgiving, I made this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping from a recipe I found at the Maker’s Mark website. It was my first cheesecake, and it came out perfectly. Anything warm and spicy goes well with bourbon in my book! If your family or friends aren’t inclined to try something completely different at Thanksgiving, a pumpkiny cheesecake like this might be a nice way to ease them in; one Thanksgiving years ago, my friend Catriena wanted to make her family enjoy cheesecake instead of pumpkin pie. I suggested a pumpkin cheesecake as the best of both worlds, offering them the comfort of the familiar and a taste of something new, but she was adamant that they would have a regular cheesecake. I don’t think it went off very well. I won’t be making cheesecake this year, since I had forgotten all about it til today, but I’ll add it to next year’s expanding list.
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese,cut into bits and softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tbsp. Maker’s Mark
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. Maker’s Mark
- 9 pecan halves for garnish
- In a bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, pecans and the sugars. Stir in the butter, press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a buttered 9-inch spring-form pan. Chill the crust for one hour.
- In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, egg, spices, salt and brown sugar. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and granulated sugar. Beat in the cream, cornstarch, vanilla, bourbon, and pumpkin mixture. Beat the filling until it is smooth.
- Bake cheesecake in a springform pan at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool for 3 hours.
- In a bowl, whisk together sour cream, sugar and Bourbon.
- Spread sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake and bake the cheesecake for 5 minutes more. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a rack and chill it, covered, overnight. Remove the side of the pan and garnish the top of the cheesecake with the pecans.
From Maker’s Mark.