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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.