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My Italian Kitchen
by Janet Zappala

This dessert will make you a star! Given to me by my dear friend Frank, this cheescake has elevated me to star status in my home. It's great for the holidays or any time you want an exceptional treat.
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Serves 8


    • 1 10-ounce bag gingersnap cookies, crushed (about 2 cups)
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/4 cup natural buttery spread (such as Earth Balance or Smart Balance), melted
    • 1 tablespoon Sucanat* (or brown sugar)
    *Sucanat is an unrefined, unprocessed sugar that is a more healthful alternative to refined brown sugar.

    • 3  8-ounce packages reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup Sucanat
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
    • Whole or chopped pecans for garnish


TO MAKE CRUST: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil. In a food processor, pulse together the cookies and pecans until they're finely ground. In a medium-size bowl, combine the cookie mixture with the melted butter alternative and the Sucanat, mix thoroughly Press the crust mixture onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the pan Bake for 5 minutes Remove the crust from the oven, set it aside. Keep the oven on.

TO MAKE FILLING: In a large mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese and Sucanat until smooth Add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, beat until smooth

TO ASSEMBLE AND COOK: Pour the filling into the baked crust Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to get all the filling Bake the cheesecake until the center is set and the edges begin to crack, about 1 hour, 5 minutes Remove the cake from the oven, cool for 20 minutes. Chill uncovered for 6 hours Garnish with whole or chopped pecans.

Note: Pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene and vitamin E.
(Per serving):  Calories: 260; Total Fat: 15 gins; Sodium: 298 mgs; Carbohydrates: 39 gms; Protein: 12 gms; Fiber: 5.1 gms



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