These Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Coconut Whipped Cream are my contribution to this year’s feast. Even though I’m a vegetarian, Thanksgiving has always been my favourite holiday. It’s our harvest festival and all around there are vibrant reminders of nature’s beauty and abundance, even as the weather cools and life starts to recede in the most glorious way. Senescing leaves know what it’s all about: they give beauty and let go.
Summer is always a slog for me, but I come alive again in autumn, refreshed by the cool undercurrent of the wind. Jogging along the canal is a real treat these days. As I pass through the arboretum, I see the trees change a bit more each day, I hear geese and ducks gathering on Dow’s Lake and preparing for their long journey south, I shiver a little and welcome it. The people I pass seem to smile more or maybe I’m more apt to notice because I’m happier too.
This year I’ve learned that gratitude is a simple thing, yet vast. Saying thank you causes an internal shift. It brings us to the moment and allows us to focus on what is, rather than what is not. I have a long list of things to be thankful for that I keep close to my heart. Many of those “things” will be indulging in pumpkin cheesecake before long.
Soon my grant applications will be off my desk. As October goes on and things get still, I’m looking forward to receding into my little writing cave, sinking into my manuscript again and forgetting about the world beyond my story until spring calls me out again. That last part is mostly a wish. ;)
Hey, I’m grateful for you too, wherever you are. I suppose there’s nothing more to say than thank you for stopping by.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
2 c ginger snap cookies, finely crushed
1/2 c pecans, finely crushed
1/4 c butter, melted
3 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 c pumpkin puree (not pie pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1. Preheat oven at 325 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
2. For the crust base, combine ginger cookies, pecans and butter. Spoon into muffin liners and press down with back of spoon. Set aside.
3. For the filling, using and electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar and vanilla. Add one egg at a time. Reserve 1 cup of the plain batter and set aside.
4. Add the rest of the sugar (1/4 cup), pumpkin and spices and mix well.
5. Spoon pumpkin batter onto the cookie crusts. Top with a spare spoonful of the plain batter. Swirl gently with a knife.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Makes about 24 mini cheesecakes.
Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight to separate coconut cream from water. Do not shake.
1/4 – 3/4 icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Chill metal mixing bowl for 10 minutes.
2. Remove the coconut solids from water.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat coconut solids for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add vanilla and sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes. Use right away or store in the fridge for up to two weeks.