This has been my breakfast for the last week- and I’ve loved every bite! It’s perfect for the season, and all the spices and flavors totally make up for not adding sugar. I really dislike the idea of using synthetic sugar substitutes, and I don’t enjoy the aftertaste of the ones I tried. That’s why I am always trying to come up with sweet recipes that don’t require sugar at all. The flavors and textures in this cheesecake, combined with the natural sweetness from the pumpkin and dairy, make this satisfying enough that I don’t miss the sugar. If want to add sugar, I’d go with a little maple syrup or brown sugar.
15 oz pumpkin pulp
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, chopped as fine as you can
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp bourbon
1 tbsp cornstarch
1. In a small saucepan, mix the pumpkin pulp with the cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Heat this on medium, stirring continuously for ~5 minutes (the goal is to cook the spices in and dry out the pulp a little). Let this cool to room temperature before using.
2. Generously butter the bottom and sides of your baking dish. I use a 8-inch square glass baking dish because I like to cut square pieces, but this will work equally well in a regular pie dish.
3. Spread the chopped pecans on the bottom of the baking dish. Make sure all of the bottom is covered. This will form the “crust.”
4. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth.
5. Add the sour cream, pumpkin pulp, vanilla, bourbon, and cornstarch. Beat until uniform.
6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
7. Gently spoon the filling mix on top of the pecans. Smooth out the top.
8. Bake 325 F for 45-55 min (visual cue- the very middle of the top will be just slightly jiggly). As soon as you see this visual cue, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake stay in until it cools down.
Note: I like to bake the cheesecake in a water bath to get a creamier texture, but it’s not necessary. To set up the water bath, I put a 9×13 inch baking dish on the middle rack in the oven. I place the 8-inch baking dish with my cheesecake mix in the 9×13 dish. Then, very carefully, I pour hot water into the 9×13 dish until it comes 3/4 of the way up (you don’t want it to spill into the cheesecake mix). Using this set-up may lengthen the cooking time slightly, so use the visual cue to tell when it is done.