Leave it to me to run straight to dessert in my quest for a great Thanksgiving meal. I wanted to try a different take on dessert but still wanted it to celebrate the Fall season. After eating my fair share of roasted butternut squash the last few weeks, a light bulb went off in my head.
“You know what? This would make a great dessert,” I said to myself one day while eating chunks of roasted squash. I may or may not have answered myself, but that’s neither here nor there.
I thought at first about making the squash into a sweet potato like pie. That was quickly squashed (pun intended) when I realized I didn’t want to play around with a crust while tackling my first turkey. Then inspiration hit when my Twitter foodie pals and I started talking about the outrageous prices some stores were charging for seasonal cheesecakes. I have a go-to cheesecake recipe that I have modified before to include fruit puree. Why not try it with butternut squash puree? The resulting cheesecake was a gem! Even the Boy loved it – and he hates cheesecake.
Roasted Butternut Squash Cheesecake
- For the filling:
- 3-8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup heavy cream 1 cup roasted butternut squash puree (see this post on how to roast the squash for this recipe)
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 5 large eggs
- For the crust:
- 5 ounces graham crackers
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 5 tbsp butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 and line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- Snap the side pan closed and cut off any excessive paper that hangs outside the pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. In a food processor, crush the graham crackers and walnuts until it becomes a fine powder. Pour in the butter and pulse on low.
- Pat the crumb mixture evenly around the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes or until it’s firm. Set it aside and start on the filling.
- In a mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese until it’s smooth and uniform. Add the sugar and continue beating until it’s incorporated into the cheese. Add the salt and spices and whip until the spices are distributed throughout the cream cheese mixture.
- Stop the mixer and add the first egg. Turn the mixer back on and allow the egg to be whipped into the cream cheese. Add the next egg and continue the process until all the eggs have been added.
- Finally, reduce the mixer speed slightly and pour in the heavy cream and squash puree. Continue mixing until all the ingredients are whipped together uniformly.
- Pour the filling on top of the crust. Cover the bottom and sides of the springform pan with foil and place it in a roasting pan. Fill the pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan.
- Bake the cheesecake for an hour or until the edges are set but the middle still jiggles a bit. Turn off the stove and let the cheesecake remain in the oven for another hour. DO NOT open the oven during this second hour.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and take it out of the roasting pan. Let the cheesecake cool completely before wrapping it up in plastic wrap and refrigerating it. Let the cheesecake cool in the fridge overnight.
Meal type: dessert