Light(er) Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

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Halloween is quickly approaching which means I’ve entered into my annual pumpkin-obsession stage. From about mid-October to early December I am pretty solidly in this stage, consuming everything from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin ravioli. Of course the annual must-have is pumpkin pie for thanksgiving, although I’ve also experimented with a few other pumpkin-based desserts such as pumpkin cupcakes and this year’s masterpiece: pumpkin cheesecake bars.

This recipe is good because it is a lighter version of the traditional pumpkin cheesecake bars, which are absolutely delicious but very heavy. It uses light cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and very little sugar. Indeed, I feel I must put in a warning that the final product has only a hint of sweetness due to the limited sugar used. It goes very well with ice cream, for those who want that extra bit of sweetness alongside the pumpkin. I also topped mine with a candy corn (near impossible to find in Britain…very kindly brought over by a friend from New York!) to give it a particularly Halloween feel!

Light(er) Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (80 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) butter

Cheesecake:

  • 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup (75 grams) unrefined or granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1⅓ cups (310 grams) pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup (54 grams) plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice

Directions:

Crust:

  1. Combine flour, powdered sugar and room temperature butter until coarse crumbs form.
  2. Put into greased pan (can also line pan with wax paper to avoid sticking) and bake for 15 minutes at 350F (176C).
  3. Remove from heat until filling is ready. Reduce oven to 300F (150 C).

Cheesecake:

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
  3. Add the remaining cheesecake ingredients and mix just until combined.
  4. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 35 minutes at 300 F (150C) or until the middle of the cheesecake bars appears set and no longer jiggles when you move the pan.
  5. Open the oven door and let the bars cool completely before removing from the oven. This is to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
  6. Cover and store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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