Pumpkin Spice No-Bake Cheesecake
Things have been sorta quiet over here at The Not So Skinny Kitchen. It seems that as the rest of life gets a bit crazy, the kitchen goes unused. I’ve only been cooking sporadically, and it’s never something I would share here. Sandwiches aren’t that exciting, and it seems everything that comes out of the slow cooker looks unappetizing. But, I’m going to make it up to you this week. In honor of the upcoming holidays, I bring you Pumpkin Week. That’s right, every recipe this week will feature one key ingredient: pumpkin. What better way to celebrate Halloween, the holiday of the pumpkin?
Personally, one of the things I love most about Fall is the appearance of all sorts of pumpkiny treats. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, little pumpkin candies, and the list goes on. If it’s pumpkin, I will try it. Typically, I try to stick to the sweeter representations of pumpkin like muffins, breads, pies, etc., but I have seen some great new recipes lately for things like pumpkin lasagna and pumpkin soup. These are both on my definite to-try list, even though Ryan is none to thrilled about either. So many pumpkin recipes to try, so little time. Why do we restrict all the pumpkiny goodness to Fall, I wonder? I say we start eating pumpkin year-round.
Unfortunately, it seems that this year is not the year to experiment with pumpkin. Have you noticed there is a shortage in your area? At my local grocery store there was only one can left, and it was a giant can. I only needed a cup, but, in light of the Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2009, I couldn’t waste the rest. This, my friends, is how Pumpkin Week was born. Instead of just making one great recipe, I quickly found two others that I just had to try in order to finish off my sought-after can of pumpkin puree. As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a baker, but last Friday I spent nearly the entire day in the kitchen baking, and our apartment smelled like Fall.
Of the three recipes, there was one I was most hesitant about, the Pumpkin Spice No-Bake Cheesecake. Now, I don’t want to call anyone out, especially my family, but… my grandma makes those Jell-O No-Bake cheesecakes pretty often. It’s something I grew up with so while it isn’t my favorite thing, I don’t mind it. The first time Ryan went to meet my grandparents, she offered him a piece of cheesecake. Immediately I knew what she meant, but he was expecting real cheesecake. Anyone who has ever tried this boxed no-bake cheesecake knows it is not a real cheesecake. The texture and consistency are completely different. So, my grandma starts to cut into this pie, then she serves it in a retro bright-pink plastic bowl with a spoon. As soon as she handed it to him, he shot me a look of “What in the world is this??” He took a bite of it and again shot me the same look. He finished it, of course, because he loves sweets, and in the end, while it doesn’t taste just like cheesecake, it is sweet.
My fear was that this no-bake cheesecake would be a similar type of pie with more of a cheesecake-flavored pie filling. As I was making it, I became even more nervous. Mixing the cream cheese into the other ingredients took quite a while, and before it became smooth, it looked pretty gross. It looked like cottage cheese, to be honest. The cream cheese didn’t just smooth out as I had expected, it sort of broke apart but still had little chunks. Luckily, after letting the mixer run for several minutes, it became a smooth mixture. The final product looked pretty good, but even as I was sliding it in the fridge to set, I just wasn’t sure about how it was going to taste.
I served the pie as dessert after making lasagna for my family, and it was a hit. I only took a little sliver of a piece at first because I was still really skeptical, but it was amazing. Don’t get me wrong, it is a pie, not a cheesecake. Do not expect it to have the same firmness that a cheesecake has. If you accept it as a pie, you will not be disappointed! We brought a couple pieces home, and they were gone within 24 hours. Delicious!
The best part about this recipe is how easy it was to make. It would be a great dessert to bring to a potluck or serve at Thanksgiving dinner. No one will suspect how easy it was to make. I will say, as I was folding the Cool-Whip into the cream cheese mixture, all I could think about was those Reddi Whip commercials. “Oil or Cream?” Every time I think about it, I get a little skeeved out, but I love Cool Whip so I’m going to push those negative thoughts out of my mind. If you have any suggestions or substitutions to use in place of Cool Whip, please let me know.
This pie taste a lot better than it looks, especially in this picture. I forgot to take my camera to my parents’ house so Ryan took this iPhone picture which doesn’t do the recipe justice, but I promise you, if you like pumpkin spice, you will love this.
Pumpkin Spice No-Bake Cheesecake
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 oz Cool Whip Light, thawed
9 inch reduced fat graham cracker crust
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar for a few minutes until fluffy. Add Cool Whip and whip until smooth. Spoon mixture into pie crust and chill for a few hours, until firm.
Source: Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes