Disclaimer: There is no pumpkin in the actual cheesecake – it’s just serving as a vessel here… a delicious, delicious vessel.
A long, long, long time ago (4 years ago, maybe?), my cousin sent me this “crustless” “pumpkin pie” recipe by no recipes. I’ve held on to it for this entire time and finally decided to take a crack at it this weekend – putting an FMITK spin on it, of course.
This is a great gluten-free cheesecake option. The filling is so flavorful that you don’t miss the crust at all – but I did miss the “crunch” of the crust. I missed the texture that comes along with crust. I resolved this by adding a little sprinkle sprinkle of sugar and brulee’ing the top of each wedge. It fulfills the texture issue and gives that satisfying “creme brulee busting through your sugar wall with a spoon” crunch.
And it’s easy. This is SO EASY. A lot easier than I anticipated actually.
Scrape the pumpkin.
Make the filling.
Fill pumpkin with filling.
Let’s get this cheesecake party started.
Now… we could just leave it alone and eat it like this, but you know I always have to try to make things just a TIIIINY bit more special.
Saffron and Cardamom (inside of a) Pumpkin Cheesecake
makes 2 sugar pumpkins filled with cheesecake (about 8 servings) in 1hr 10 mins
adapted from no recipes
2 small sugar pumpkins (sometimes called “pumpkin pie pumpkins”)
2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp saffron threads, soaked in 1 tsp hot water
prep the pumpkins
Wash the outside of the sugar pumpkins, then cut a round hole in the top around the stem. Lift the “lid” off and use a spoon to scrape all the seeds and stringy stuff from the inside surface of the pumpkin and lid.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill the bottom of a large oven-safe pot with about 1/2″ of water and place a steamer basket at the bottom. Put the pumpkin on top of the steamer basket and make sure the pot lid will still fit (don’t worry about the top to the pumpkin, you can cook it on the side).
prep the cheesecake filling
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in eggs, one at a time, at low speed until just combined. Add in cardamom and saffron (along with the 1 tsp of water it was soaking in) and mix thoroughly.
Fill each pumpkin with enough filling so that there is a 1/2″ of room at the top. Cover the pumpkin with foil (to prevent moisture from getting into the cheesecake) and place the pumpkin lid next to it inside of the pot (fitted with steamer basket and 1/2″ water). Put the pot in the oven and cook for ~50 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set on the outside and almost set in the middle (a little jiggly is okay). A knife inserted should come out clean. Also make sure the pumpkin is thoroughly cooked (a knife inserted into the thickest part of the flesh should be easily inserted and removed).
Remove from oven and remove the pot lid and let cool enough to handle. Remove from the pot and let cool to room temperature, then chill for a few hours to set.
Slice into wedges for serving.
Optional, yet delicious, step: Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each wedge and brulee!