Cooking School: Pumpkins

By Fabiana Santana

We love fall and all the fun stuff that comes with it. Foliage, fireside cocktails, new boots and the mascot of of the autumn season: pumpkins.  Sure they make great Halloween decorations, but pumpkins also make for some good eats.

Contrary to popular belief, pumpkins are actually a fruit, not a vegetable. But their hearty consistency and unique flavor makes them a much more versatile ingredient than other fall fruits.

Baked chunks of pumpkin seasoned with salt and pepper make a great addition to rice pilaf. Or puree your baked pumpkin with some heavy cream and hot stock for a hearty soup.  Save some of that puree and mix it with a bit of ricotta cheese.  Place the filling in between two wonton wrappers. Seal them shut with a bit of egg wash or hot water and boil for a couple of minutes and presto: you just made homemade pumpkin ravioli. All you need to do next is melt a bit of butter, add a few sage leaves and pour over the pasta for a perfect fall dinner.

And who doesn’t love the traditional pumpkin pie? Everyone has their favorite recipe from the one Grandma handed down to the one pasted on  the side of the evaporated milk can.

This year, why not surprise your friends and family with a fun twist on an old classic? October 24 is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day (hey, Sadie Hawkins gets a day, so why shouldn’t pumpkin cheesecake?) and what better way to celebrate than with Individual Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecakes? This might sound like a recipe that is  more gourmet than you are used to making, but it’s simpler than you think. Double duty ingredients like the seasonal Coffee-mate Pumpkin Spice creamer help to give this dessert that traditional pumpkin spice flavor while adding a bit of creamy decadence at the same time. And since it is just 35 calories a tablespoon, you get the  flavor without all the fat. Cheesecake for just 190 calories a serving?! Seconds please!

Individual Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecakes Recipe Individual Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecakes Recipe

  • 12 Cupcake liners
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp. Coffee-mate seasonal Pumpkin Spice flavor
  • 2 tsp. Ground cinnamon

PREHEAT oven to 300° F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with liners; coat liners with nonstick cooking spray.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Transfer 1/2 cup batter to a medium bowl.

ADD pumpkin and Coffee-mate; stir until blended.

DIVIDE white cream cheese batter evenly among prepared cups; top evenly with pumpkin batter. Swirl batters with butter knife.

BAKE for 16 to 18 minutes or until just set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

Tip: Use the same recipe, but substitute Coffee-mate’s Gingerbread Latte creamer for the Pumpkin Spice creamer and you’ve got Gingerbread Latte Cheesecake!

More Pumpkin Recipes

Holiday Cocktails: Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert Shots

Pumpkin Pie? Make It or Buy It?

Hot Winter Drinks