This is another recipe developed for our friends’ harvest festival. If you’re looking to do something a bit different but with a traditional touch this Thanksgiving, this is a fairly easy option.
Spicy Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
1 9-inch pie crust (I recommend my husband’s, but do what you can)
16 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 lb pie pumpkin
3 t Ceylon cinnamon
1-1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/4 t ground clove
1/3 of a nutmeg, freshly grated
2 T chopped candied ginger (see below)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Roll out the pie crust and transfer it to a 9-inch pie tin, giving it high, crimped sides. Fill the bottom with pie weights, and bake for about 10 minutes, until just barely golden. Set aside to cool slightly while you mix the filling.
Cream the cream cheese and sugar. Incorporate the eggs one at a time. Mix in the pumpkin and ground spices. Pour into pie crust and sprinkle with the candied ginger.
Place the pie tin in a shallow water bath in a larger pan. Don’t let the water come over the sides of the tin. You may want to place the pie in the pan in the oven before adding the water to reduce the chances of sloshing.
Bake for 50–60 minutes. You’re looking for the center of the pie to not act like liquid when you jiggle it. Some wiggle is fine, but it should be constrained. If the pie cracks, you’re probably done.
Candied Ginger, Ginger Sugar, and Ginger Water
Get a little over a pound and a half of ginger. Peel it and slice it thin. A mandolin helps, even if you find it, as you should, somewhat terrifying.
Lay the slices in the bottom of a slow-cooker/crock-pot and just cover with water. Steep on the lowest heat setting at least overnight. Pour off the water and save it for mixing drinks or incorporating into recipes. It makes for very nice popovers.
Set out a large cooling rack covered with parchment paper. Weigh the ginger, and place it and an equal weight white sugar into a large saucepan. Add back a cup of the ginger water and place over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the ginger becomes translucent. Turn the heat up to boil off the water. Stir frequently. Once the sugar crystallizes, turn off the heat and continue stirring until the sugar is essentially dry. Turn out onto the cooling rack and separate.
Store the extra, now-ginger-flavored sugar in an airtight container. Depending on how you want to use it, you may want to run it through the food processor first to break down lumps. Store the ginger in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
This will be stronger and harder than the candied ginger you buy in the store. Enjoy carefully.