Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Maple and Pecan Topped Pumpkin Cheesecake

Servings: 10-12
Crust (recipe follows)
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (can use reduced-fat)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs (or 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie mix (see note below)
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Maple syrup
Pecans and whipped cream (or mixture of whipped topping and nonfat vanilla yogurt) for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Make Crust. Unwrap cheese and place in a microwave-safe dish. Soften cheese in microwave at medium (50 % power) for 2 minutes. Beat cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour and pumpkin pie mix. Blend well and stir in pecans. Pour into Crust.

Bake 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until center feels firm when touched. Cool in pan on wire rack. Carefully run a sharp knife around edges to loosen sides so cheesecake will not crack on top. Brush top with maple syrup. Chill completely. Remove sides of pan. When ready to serve, garnish with pecans and whipped cream.

Makes 10 to 12 slices.

Note: To substitute canned pumpkin for pumpkin pie mix, use 1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin, increase sugar to 1 1/2 cups, use 5 eggs, use 1/4 cup flour and add 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Grease a 9-inch springform pan, or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Combine crumbs, butter, cinnamon, sugar and pecans. Line bottom and partly up sides of pan; refrigerate until ready to add filling.

Microwave Variation (makes 2 cheesecake pies):
Double the Crust recipe; increase nuts for filling to 1/2 cup. Press Crust into 2 (9-inch) pie plates (or a 9-inch pie plate and an 8-inch square glass pan). Cook each Crust separately on high (100 percent power) 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Divide batter between pie plates. Cook each pie separately on medium-high (70 percent) power 10 minutes for a 9-inch pan and 14 minutes for 8-inch square pan. Rotate a quarter turn every 3 minutes. Compact ovens might need to use high power.

Date: January 22, 2003