A healthier alternative to cheesecake for a show stopping holiday dessert: Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Walnut Crust. Can be made gluten-free by simply using gluten-free gingersnaps.
- 4 ounces gingersnaps cookies, such as Mi Del’s or Mi Del Gluten Free (about 1 ½ cups or 18 to 20 1 3/4 –inch cookies)
- 1/3 cup walnuts, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 12 ounces Neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons tapioca pearls, ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2/3 cup unsulphered molasses
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 16-ounce container non-fat cottage cheese
- 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin
- Maple Candied Walnuts* for Garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch spring-form pan with cooking spray. See note*. Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.
- Grind cookies and walnuts to a fine meal in food processor. Drizzle in butter or canola oil and process, scraping sides as needed until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set the spring-form pan into a roasting pan and set aside.
- Beat Neufchatel cheese, sugar, tapioca, ginger, cinnamon and cloves with an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low until the tapioca and spice is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and gradually beat in molasses. Beat until completely smooth, stopping and scraping down sides occasionally. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides occasionally. Beat in vanilla.
- Clean food processor and add cottage cheese. Process the cottage cheese in the food processor until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Scraping down sides once. Gradually beat the cottage cheese and pumpkin puree into the cream cheese mixture on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat a final time to make sure no streaks remain.
- Pour the batter into the spring-form pan over the crumb crust. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to create a hot water bath for the cake and carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until slightly wobbly in the center and not cracked, 80 to 90 minutes.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Let cake cool in the water bath until the water is room temperature. Remove the spring-form pan from the water bath and refrigerate until completely cold, at least 4 hours. For ease of cutting, wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove sides of the spring-form pan. Transfer cake to a cake stand if desired or just leave it on the pan bottom.
* To make Maple Candied Walnuts: Line a baking sheet with a silpat. Spray with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir 16 walnut halves, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, dark or amber, 1 tablespoon sugar and a pinch each of salt and pumpkin pie spice in a small dish. Spread out on the silpat. Bake until the maple is bubbling, about 12 minutes. Stir keeping walnuts separated if possible, and continue baking until the walnuts are coated and fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Let cool completely.
- Serving Size: 1/16 cake
- Calories: 247
- Sugar: 14 g
- Sodium: 239 mg
- Fat: 13 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Carbohydrates: 22 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 8 g