Pumpkin Cheesecake: An easy alternative to pie

Lucy Herrman

Pumpkin Cheesecake is the perfect dessert to finish off a New Mexico flavor Thanksgiving dinner. The great thing about this dessert is that it can be made a day ahead.

For some people, Thanksgiving would not be complete without at least one kind of pie -- pumpkin. While I'm very fond of pumpkin pie, sometimes I want to present something a little more decadent. Never mind that we've already stuffed ourselves silly at the table. Time for an exceptional dessert! So this Thanksgiving, I am serving Pumpkin Cheesecake.

I'm fond of this recipe because it is much less rich than a typical New York-style cheesecake. And unlike New York cheesecake, this version is uncomplicated to make. One of the best parts is that you have to make it a day or so in advance, which is a real time-saving help.

And preparation is a snap. Once it is whipped together, which only takes about about 15 minutes, it slowly bakes at low temperature for an hour to an hour and a half. Then, after it has cooled thoroughly, you wrap the whole pan in foil, and refrigerate until just before serving.

If you have the time or inclination, you can melt some bittersweet chocolate chips and pipe decorations onto a sheet of parchment. I used a plastic lunch bag and snipped a tiny hole in the corner to squeeze out my designs. Cool the design-covered parchment in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Then, lifting them from the parchment using a spatula, I used some of the chocolate decorations for the cake and saved some for the individual serving plates.

Store the designs in layers on small pieces of parchment in a container in the refrigerator. If you want to be extra fancy, you can also decorate each slice as you serve it with a dollop of whipped cream and even some fresh berries. But you don't have to add a thing -- the flavor stands well on its own.

Something different but still in keeping with the flavors of the holiday.

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