Cook ’em Horns Revisited: Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Baking a burnt-orange dessert for an audience of UT alumni could perhaps be perceived as pandering, but I’m far too excited about the wind rustling through the trees as this cold front blows in to forsake delightful autumnal treats now, especially as quick and easy as they are.

As I flipped through Cook ‘Em Horns, I spotted so many recipes I wanted to try out that I ultimately opted to combine two: Cheesecake for Pumpkin Lovers (from the Cakes section) and Individual Cheesecakes (Pies, Pastries).

In this, as in all things pumpkin—perhaps spurred by an exuberance for fall only a Texan can truly understand—I prefer doubling the spice amounts listed in most recipes. But feel free to adjust those amounts to your tastes instead. In fact, several facets of this recipe are adjustable, as noted in the recipe below.

Individual Cheesecakes for Pumpkin Lovers

Vanilla wafers*
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin**
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. salt
Whipped cream (optional)

*If you’re particularly enterprising and/or attached to the taste of graham cracker crust with your pumpkin treats, feel free to replace the vanilla wafers with crumbled graham crackers and a bit of melted butter. Then skip the wafer step and press a 1/4″-1/2″ crust into the bottom of the muffin tin liners instead.

**In the spirit of accessible baking, I can confirm that canned pumpkin works just as well as the cooked and mashed version of the real thing. Just throwing that out there.

Preheat oven to 350°F and place paper liners in muffin tins. Place one wafer in the bottom of each cup. Combine cream cheese and sugar, beating until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in pumpkin, spices, and salt. Pour batter into lined muffin cups, filling each to approximately 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the tops of the cheesecakes begin to crack slightly in the center. Cool on wire racks until room temperature, then chill overnight. Top with whipped cream.

Yields approximately 18 cheesecakes

Monica Riese, BA ’09, blogs about her baking at The Yeast I Can Do.


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