Pumpkin has many fun uses

October 24, 1990

WHEN YOU THINK of pumpkin, you probably think of pumpkin pies. However, pumpkin can be used in everything from soups to breads to cheesecakes.

Pumpkin can be boiled, sauteed or steamed; battered and deep-fried; grilled or baked. In addition, it can be pureed for soup, eaten raw, or used as filling.

Canned pumpkin can be stored up to two years, if kept in a cool, dry place.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ginger-walnut crust (recipe follows)

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese softened

1/2 cup sugar

One 16-ounce can pumpkin

3 eggs

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Whipped cream

Walnut halves

Lemon rind twists

Make ginger-walnut crumb crust; set aside. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in pumpkin and eggs; mix in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and lemon rind. Pour mixture into ginger-walnut crumb crust. Bake in a preheated 300-degree oven until cheesecake is just set in the center, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate three to four hours. Remove side of pan. Garnish cheesecake with dollops of whipped cream, walnut halves and lemon rind. Makes 14 to 16 servings.

Ginger-Walnut Crust

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs

1/4 cup ground walnuts

1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

Mix graham cracker crumbs, gingersnap crumbs and walnuts in the bottom of nine-inch springform pan; mix in melted butter. Pat mixture evenly on bottom and up one-inch side of pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven until light brown, about eight minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Miniature Cheesecakes

18 gingersnaps

1/8 One 2-pound container reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1 cup unseasoned canned pumpkin

2 eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line eighteen 2 1/2 -inch muffin pan cups with foil liners. Press a gingersnap into the bottom of each foil liner. In a food processor or blender, process ricotta until smooth and creamy. Add pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and vanilla extract; process until combined. Spoon into muffin pan cups. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 25 minutes or until lightly set. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove cheesecakes from pan and chill. If desired, decorate tops with sliced almonds. Make 18.

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