If you like to inspire raised eyebrows, keep this rustic novelty in mind for Thanksgiving. The cook time is unattended, so you can do other things.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30 minutes and 1 hour
1 small sugar pumpkin, about 8-9" across
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup brown sugar or equivalent
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350F. With a large chef's knife, carefully slice the bottom of the pumpkin to make a "pie shell" about 2" deep. Scoop out the seeds and filaments from both sides of the pumpkin, and place flesh side down in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until flesh is soft. Cool for 10 minutes, and with a large spoon gently scoop the flesh out of the bottom shell, taking care not to get too close to the edge. Scoop the flesh out the the top half as well. Run the flesh through a food processor equipped with a cutting blade until you achieve a smooth consistency. You'll need 1 cup of this puree. The rest you can use for muffins or other fun things.
Preheat oven to 350F. Place the pumpkin shell in an oiled pie plate. Using a stand mixer (best option) or an athletic forearm to beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth and batter-like. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Add the eggs, the pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to the cream cheese and thoroughly mix. Scrape the batter into your crust to 1/4 inch below the top edge, smoothing it out with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula, and slide into the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on the counter for 20 minutes, and serve warm, or cover and chill.
Note: While making the puree is easy and part of the fun, this cheesecake can of course be made in a regular pie crust or graham cracker crust. 1 cup of puree = 1/2 can of the off the shelf stuff.
Served up by Tod Dimmick,
AKA "The Foodie" at 1000radishes