Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Cheesecake

Whenever I think of Halloween I always think of the glowing Jack-o-Lanterns on people's front porches. I'm always amazed by some of the detail that people can carve into those things. As much as I like looking at them, they are messy to do. So instead I can create a Jack-o-Lantern on my pumpkin cheesecake. I do this every Halloween. It's cute to look at and it tastes great.

Click here for printable recipe. 
Posted by Jen.

The Ingredients:

1 ready made graham cracker crust
2 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie blend)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c semi sweet chocolate chips, melted

The Directions:
Cream the cream cheese and sugar together in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Then mix in the eggs and pumpkin pie spice until all blended together.
Reserve 1/3 cup pumpkin batter in a separate bowl. Pour the rest of the batter into prepared crust.

Meanwhile melt chocolate chips in small bowl. Add the reserved 1/3 c cream cheese batter to the melted chocolate. Mix well until you can no longer see the orange pumpkin mixture.Place the chocolate pumpkin mixture into a piping bag (or strong baggie). Cut off a small hole so as to be able to control the amount of batter coming out. Pipe on a Jack-o-Lantern face onto your cheesecake. Flatten down your piping so that it cooks flat.Bake in 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until the center is still barely jiggly or right before cracks start to appear. Remove and let cool on cooling rack. Refrigerate once completely cooled.

Halloween Pumpkin Cheesecake variations:

1. You can make this also using the brownie bottom recipe as found in the recipe for Brownie bottom cheesecake. You will make this in a spring form pan. Follow the rest of the cheesecake batter as directed above.2. Or you could use the pumpkin to create an eerie night time effect for your cheesecake. Instead of mixing the pumpkin into ALL the batter, remove about 1/2 c of the white batter in a separate small bowl and mix in the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. (make sure that you have already added the eggs and vanilla before separating any batter) Then pour in the white cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Drop spoonfuls of the pumpkin batter onto the top of the cheesecake batter and take a knife and gently swirl the pumpkin mixture. For the witch flying, I made sure to swirl it in the same direction.
I found a picture of a witch on a broom. I melted the chocolate chips and cut a tiny hole in the piping baggie. I placed my picture under some wax paper and then I traced the outline of the witch picture with chocolate and then filled it in, like coloring. Once the chocolate is dried, you can remove it from the wax paper and place it on your cheesecake. You can pipe any chocolate shape you want. Lots of chocolate bats, or big white chocolate moon, or silhouette of a werewolf howling are all great options to have with a pumpkin background.

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