A Thanksgiving without pumpkin desserts will never come to an end. So, this is the perfect dessert to end this year thanksgiving series in our blog – Swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars. This is a very easy dessert that can impress everyone at the dinner table!
These swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars can be made with any crusts like cookie crust, shortbread crust or even cookie dough crust. I tried making these with pie crust because I had some lying around. To make swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars with cookie crust, add melted butter to crumbled cookies and press onto the pan and bake and chill for sometime before pouring the cream cheese – pumpkin mixture.
And, next is the simplest of all – shortbread crust. For this, just pulse all purpose flour, sugar and cold butter in a food processor until it looks like coarse crumbs. Then, press this into the baking dish and bake for like 18 – 20 minutes and then pour the cream cheese – pumpkin mixture and continue baking it.
Cookie dough is also easy. Press readily available cookie dough into a prepared baking dish and pour the cream cheese – pumpkin mixture and bake it. But, of all these methods I chose to make a pie crust because, the first reason being I wanted to try making these swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars with pie crust. The second and the main reason being I had some lying around in my fridge.
So, anyways, I will explain making these cheesecake bars with pie crust in a detailed manner in the recipe card below. You can make any crust that you prefer for these cheesecake bars. They are very easy to make and are also very delicious that you cannot stop with just one piece.
These swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars have a spice filled pumpkin – cream cheese mixture with blobs of sweet cream cheese mixture swirled around in it. These cheesecake bars just adds a twist to the traditional pumpkin pie that we make for thanksgiving.
We usually serve these cheesecake bars cold like any other cheesecake. There is one more thing that i want to mention here – the pumpkin puree that you use. Usually the ones that we get in tins are the best because of it thick consistency. But, I have also found that the ones that we prepare at home are as good as the store bought ones.
I made the pumpkin puree a day before I made the swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars. To make pumpkin puree, roast halved and deseeded pumpkins in a pre-heated oven for 30-45 minutes. They turn really soft by then. Cool it completely, scoop out the flesh and process it in a food processor until smooth. You can also pass this through a strainer to remove any stringy flesh too! Remember to roast the pumpkins skin side up.
Also, while buying pumpkins make sure to get ones that are sweet. Here, in my place, we do not get so many varieties of pumpkin. I just got a normal pumpkin which actually tasted good for this dessert. The variety that I get here is ‘disco pumpkins’.
You can even prepare the pumpkin puree in advance and store it for use during the thanksgiving season. These swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars are just pure bliss. They are so very creamy and just perfectly baked. Also, the hint of sweetness from the swirled blobs of cream cheese along with the pumpkin spice mix is an out of the world combination that you all must taste it at least once.
We haven’t had any pumpkin dessert till now thinking pumpkin in desserts may not be a great combination. But, after trying these out, I am now very sure that we will be trying other desserts with pumpkin in the future. Especially making pumpkin puree at home is pure satisfaction and the smell that your house is filled with while roasting them is totally awesome that you keep sniffing around your house.
Enjoy these swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars with your loved ones for this Thanksgiving. Stay safe; stay healthy! Happy cooking and eating! And have a very blessed Thanksgiving!
While you are here, do checkout my other cake recipes to enjoy during this holiday season. Also, checkout my French onion soup, Moist pear cake with cinnamon sugar and Creamy grapes recipe that I had prepared for this thanksgiving and enjoy the dinner with your loved ones!
Has meal planning been a little bit difficult during this lockdown? Look through my No Veggies, 21-Day Lockdown Series for ideas on what to cook during this lockdown.
Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
For the crust
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup ice cold water
For the pumpkin spice mixture and cream cheese swirls
- 1½ cup cream cheese, divided
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground clove
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp cream
To make the crust
- In a mixing bowl or a food processor, add all purpose flour, sugar and salt and whisk well.
- Add cold, cubed unsalted butter in incorporate it with the flour mixture with a pastry cutter of a food processor until it resembles a coarse mixture.
- Add cold water and knead to form a dough.
- Divide the dough into two and wrap each with a cling film and refrigerate for two hours before using it.
- Let the dough thaw at room temperature just for a few minutes to make it easier to roll. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about ⅛ inch thick.
- Place this rolled out dough into the prepared baking dish and press it. Pre-heat an oven at 350 degrees and bake the crust for 45 minutes. Cool completely before using the crust.
To make the pumpkin spice mix
- Pre-heat an oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese, sugar and all purpose flour. Beat until smooth.
- Reserve ½ cup of the above mixture for the cheesecake swirls and to the rest, add all the ground spice and vanilla extract and beat until just combined.
- Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture.
- Add the pumpkin puree to the cream cheese mixture and beat everything until combined. While doing so, scrape down the sides and mix well to make sure the mixture is evenly mixed.
- To the reserved cream cheese mixture, add the cream and mix well.
- Pour the pumpkin spice mixture into the prepared baking dish and add random blobs of the cream cheese mixture to the pumpkin spice mixture.
- With the help of a sharp knife or a skewer, cut through the cream cheese and pumpkin mixture without taking out the knife until it forms a design.
- Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until it is set. Cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Then cut the cold cheesecake into squares.
- Serve chilled.
- Bake in a square or rectangular dish to make it easier for you to cut and serve.
- You can make cookie crust or even shortbread crust instead of the pie crust.
- For cookie crust, just add some melted butter and sugar to cookie crumbs. Press this into the baking dish and pre-bake for a few minutes.
- For the shortbread crust, add some cold unsalted butter and sugar to all purpose flour. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, incorporate this butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. Then, press into baking dish and pre-bake for 20 minutes.
- To make homemade pumpkin puree, discard all the seeds and any stringy flesh of the pumpkins and roast in an oven for 45 minutes (skin side facing up). Then, scoop out the flesh and puree until smooth.
- Make sure that the center of the pumpkin – cream cheese mixture is set before refrigerating it.
- Pressing crust onto the sides is not necessary.