A few months ago, our electrician gave us a 17lb french pumpkin. After a few searches online, I have decided what he gave us (he is not sure of the variety either) is a Muscade de Provence. It is said to be a traditional variety from southern France. Gorgeous, big flat fruits are reminiscent of big wheels of cheese. Fruits average 20 pounds, green when immature and ripen to a deep, rich brown when fully ripe. Deep orange flesh, very fine flavored. We had already roasted some of it, made some with more of it and still had a ton leftover. Seeing as how I am not a fan of pumpkin pie, for Thanksgiving dessert, I decided to make a pumpkin cheesecake. NO CINNAMON INVOLVED!
It was quite delicious I must say. It had all the familiarity of a pumpkin pie, but was lighter in texture and flavor. Very palette cleansing in fact.
Crust:2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick salted butter - melted
2 cups fresh pumpkin
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablesppons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract - don't you even think about using imitation...
To prepare fresh pumpkin:
Cut into cubes and steam until soft. Place into a pan, mash and cook off any extra liquid. Place into a food mill and puree. I prefer the food mill over a blender, because it gets rid of the stringy bits. Place back in pan and cook down a bit more - 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
To make crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, pecans, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Place in 350 degree oven for 7 minutes.
To make filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add cooled pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into cooled crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let coo. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.