Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

This is a Thanksgiving Day favorite. It was given to my mother by Mickey Kohn, a fabulous cook and old family friend. Because our family was so large and for the sake of variety, we usually made two different pumpkin pies every Thanksgiving, Mom’s Pumpkin Pie and this pumpkin cheesecake.

DSC_0399In this pumpkin dessert, we add ginger, cloves, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract for flavoring. As we’ve seen in other recipes where pumpkin purée is the main ingredient, it takes a lot of spice to get pumpkin to taste like the pumpkin we know and love in our favorite desserts.

Yield: One 9-inch deep dish pie, or one 10-inch regular depth pie


Pie Filling:
1  9-inch pie crust, uncooked
1  8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1¾ cups pumpkin purée (one 15 ounce can)
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar


Mise en Place:


1) Preheat oven to 375º

2) Arrange homemade or store-bought pie crust in a pie pan:
Unroll dough. Use a rolling pin to lightly roll the dough. This helps to even it out.


Remove the top layer of plastic liner from the dough. Gently flip dough over the pie pan. Center dough over the pan and then gently push it into the bottom crevices of the pie pan.

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Remove second plastic liner. Tuck overhanging dough underneath itself.


Flute dough edges for a pretty and finished look: place the index finger of your writing hand against the inside edge of the dough. Use the thumb and index finger on your other hand to gently press the dough around that index finger. Continue all the way around the circle.


3) Prepare Pie Filling:
Cream together cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt for one minute at medium speed.


Slowly add beaten eggs. Mix well. Blend in pumpkin purée, milk, and vanilla. Mix at a slow speed for one minute.


Pour filling into the pie shell and bake for 45-50 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


After the pie had baked for 35 minutes, I noticed the pie crust was starting to get brown while the center was still not cooked, so I added a pie crust shield over the rim to slow down the browning process. If you don’t have a shield, cut three 4-inch strips of foil and crimp them over the crust’s edges. Leave them there until the pie is finished baking.

Note to self: use a thinner lipped pie crust shield the next time. Pumpkin pie rises like a soufflé as it cooks and this wide shield impeded that expansion. It turned out okay in the end because the marks left from the shield were covered up by the topping.

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4) Prepare Topping:
Spoon one cup of sour cream into a container. Add sugar to sour cream and stir until smooth.

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Scoop the topping onto the cooked pie and spread evenly almost to the crust.

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Bake for 3-5 more minutes until topping is set.


Let cool on a wire rack. Serve chilled.


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© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.


Marion’s Crazy Good Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

Let’s just say you need something to serve for a morning meeting or an afternoon snack. Or, maybe you need to come up with a contribution to a bake sale or a neighborhood party. Or, maybe you are looking for a healthy-ish dessert. This is your recipe!

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There is something about the way the earthy pumpkin purée in this bread absorbs the heat of the spices and the sweet taste of the chocolate and turns it into a decadent memory of all that is autumn. Bonus points to this bread for being dairy and nut free.


My cousin Marion first emailed me this recipe back in 2008 when I was looking for something to make for a school bake sale. It took me a year to make it because I couldn’t see pumpkin and chocolate tasting good together. When I finally tried it, I was blown away by the flavor. The spices subdued the sweet chocolate, and both did something crazy good to the pumpkin. The combination was brilliant. I started making her pumpkin bread every year for the school bake sale. It was so popular; it was placed on the school’s website where it remains all these years later. This recipe is so well-loved my cousin has to print copies for her customers to take home with them whenever she serves it at her Details and Goods trunk shows.

Yield: Makes 2 loaves, 1 bundt cake, or 18-24 muffins depending on size


Mise en Place:

1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs
1  15-ounce can pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º

  1. Grease baking pans and lightly dust with flour. This recipe will fill one bundt pan, two loaf pans, 18 muffin tins, or six mini-loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, applesauce, and eggs on medium speed for two minutes.
  3. Add pumpkin purée and spices. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds more. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as you mix.


4. Add flours, salt, and baking soda. Mix for 30 seconds on low speed just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the batter.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake on the middle rack of oven for 50-60 minutes. To test for doneness insert a knife into the center of the baking pan. If it comes out with orange residue on it, put back in the oven for another 10 minutes. If it comes out with just melted chocolate on the knife, then it is ready.

Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Next, run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen the loaves. Turn the pans over onto the wire rack and shake the loaves out. Immediately flip them over, so they are right side up. Allow to cool for an hour before packaging.

A few baking notes:

If you don’t have applesauce, use 1 full cup of oil instead of half oil and half applesauce.

If you don’t have whole wheat flour, use 2 cups of all-purpose flour.

In case you’re wondering, a 15-ounce can is equal to 1¾ cups of pumpkin purée.

Marion, thanks for turning me on to this unlikely pairing of flavors! Marion thanks her friend, Marilyn who first introduced her to this recipe in the form of muffins as a crowd-pleasing snack after a high school lacrosse game.

Holding hands with my favorite cousin and first friend, Marion.

Other Nice Fall Desserts
Mom’s Apple Pie with a Cheddar Streusel Topping
Mom’s Pumpkin Pie
Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Nut Pie
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Always check the website for the most current version of a recipe.

© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.