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Layered Pumpkin Dessert

Pretty layers of cheesecake and pumpkin star in this prize-winning torte. Not too heavy, it's especially nice with a big holiday meal. There's never a morsel left!—Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. + cooling Bake: 15 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    15 servings

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • PUMPKIN FILLING:
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon; stir in butter. Press into an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar and eggs until fluffy. Pour over crust. Bake 15-20 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
  • In the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl over simmering water, combine pumpkin, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, milk, cinnamon and salt. Cook and stir over low heat until a thermometer reads 160°; remove from heat. Transfer to a large bowl; wipe out double boiler.
  • In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir into pumpkin mixture; cool.
  • In the double boiler, whisk egg whites and remaining sugar over low heat until temperature reaches 160°. Remove from heat; using a mixer, beat until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour over cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until set.
  • Just before serving, in a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over pumpkin layer.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Gelatin cannot be added directly to recipes. It first needs to hydrate or "bloom" in a small amount of liquid and then be heated. Skip this step and you risk major problems with texture.
  • For the lightest, airiest whipped cream, be sure to use heavy whipping cream that is icy cold and not ultra pasteurized.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 piece: 370 calories, 21g fat (12g saturated fat), 144mg cholesterol, 275mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate (33g sugars, 2g fiber), 6g protein.

    Reviews

    Click stars to rate
    Average Rating:
    • STBay
      Oct 16, 2014

      I made this for my work place and everyone loved it. It was a lot of work , but all the raves were worth it.

    • DebbieHuseby
      Oct 10, 2011

      This recipe is much more time consuming than it is worth. There are other pumpkin recipes similar to this that are much easier and tastier.

    • BBMinx
      Feb 3, 2011

      My grandmother has been making this for years and everybody loves it! I took a turn making it and allthough it is some work it is worth it!

    • christyberry
      Feb 1, 2011

      It was great and light!

    • tamimaffitt
      Nov 27, 2010

      I made this for Thanksgiving. It was somewhat time consuming, but I found it to be worth the effort. I was swarmed with compliments. I was even told by one individual that this was the best dessert she'd ever tasted.Note: cooking the egg whites in a saucepan while beating them with mixers did not work for me because of the tephlon coating of my pan. So, I whipped them on high speed in my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer (and did not heat them).

    • BRENDA6456
      Nov 27, 2010

      The taste of this dessert is five stars. I gave four stars however due to all of the steps involved with the pumpkin layer. Very do able just very time consuming. Oh, I also used Coolwhip in place of the whipped cream for personal preference.

    • dorisfarrell
      Nov 27, 2009

      This is a great dessert for the fall. It takes some time to put together but is definitely worth the effort - absolutely yummy!

    • smfeldner
      Nov 10, 2009

      I thought this was really good. The directions were a bit fussy - could easily be streamlined. But the results were quite tasty! I brought this to our block party and it was gone by the end of the night!

    • esthereckert
      Oct 13, 2008

      I had no luck with cooking the egg whites and then beating them. Here is a hint that will save time and simplify the recipe. Save the egg whites for another use. Instead, stiffly whip 1 cup whipping cream and fold that into the cooled pumpkin mixture. Other changes I made included, used gingersnap crumbs instead of graham wafer crumbs for the base, substitued pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, garnished the top with toasted pecans and drizzled carmel ice cream sauce over each piece once it was on each plate. I served this dessert at our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, Oct 12. The eighteen guests all LOVED the presentation and the flavor. (Since the dessert is so rich, cutting it into 18 pieces still gave everyone a good sized piece after a BIG meal.) E.E.