Gluten -free Pumpkin Cheesecake

This year I am going to my grandparents for Thanksgiving. My grandma has a gluten allergy so I wanted to make something she could also enjoy. Gluten is in so many things so making something is challenging. If you have read an Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen you’d know that corn is in things you would never have imagined. Wheat is another item that is in many things we eat. And if it is not specifically included in the food, it could have been processed in a plant that also processes wheat items – thus contamination! Oh the dilemmas of the commercial food industry! (another topic) However, all of that made me extremely conscious of the ingredients and brands I used (and I checked with my grandma on the ingredient list as well, which if you are not a person who is well versed in gluten free cooking, and you are cooking for someone with an allergy do give them your ingredient list with the specific brands you used so they can make sure it is all ok). You can also email the companies and ask about the gluten content of their products.

For this recipe I used my Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe of which the cheesecake filling was already gluten free without alteration. NOTE: some cheesecake recipes call for flour – I never use flour in mine, but that is a gluten no, no (if you didn’t already know). The only thing I had to alter was the crust, I used Trader Joe’s gluten free gingersnaps for this recipe. There are gluten free graham crackers and other cookies out there as well. I use McCormick spices, which I remembered my grandma told me that she contacted McCormick and confirmed no gluten was contained in their spices.  The sound of gingersnaps with the pumpkin sounded very holiday-like and boy was it fantastic. (I substituted half in half for the heavy cream, and Greek yogurt for sour cream. Those substitutions made a slight difference. I realized at the last minute that I didn’t have enough heavy cream and that my sour cream had dip in it instead of sour cream).

CRUST
2 c ground Trader Joes Gluten Free Gingersnaps
2T. brown sugar (or granulated) C&H
5T. melted butter

IN a food processor, process the gingersnaps until they are a fine crumb. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and press into the bottom of a spring form pan or a deep pie dish. Bake @ 375 degrees for 7 minutes or so.

FILLING
3- 8oz. pkgs cream cheese (Philadelphia) (softened)
3/4c granulated sugar (C&H)
1T vanilla (Spice Island)
5 eggs
1/8 cup heavy cream

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until combined. Add eggs one at a time and make sure the egg is incorporated well before adding the next egg. Beat in whipping cream.

PUMPKIN MIXTURE
15 oz can pumpkin puree (Libbys)
¼ t. ground ginger (McCormick)
1 ½ t ground cinnamon (McCormick)
¼ t. ground nutmeg (McCormick)
¼ t. ground cloves (McCormick)
1/8 c. sour cream

Whisk the pumpkin mixture together, then fold into cheesecake filling.

BAKE cheesecake at 300-degrees for 1 hour and 5-10 min (or until middle set). I allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven, with the oven off and the door propped open. This helps prevent all those cracks and craters you can get in your cheesecakes when the hot cheesecake hits the cool air outside the oven. I read that slowly cooling a cheesecake can prevent some of that cracking and so far it appears to work for me. Cooking the cheesecake at 300 instead of 325 cooks it slower and more gentle. I have used water baths which makes the cheese cake creamier and without a water bath the cheese cake gets more dry with a crumblier texture – this is all about what you prefer.

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