It seems the band of anti-pumpkin folk is becoming larger, or at least far more vocal.

I cannot imagine Thanksgiving without pumpkin in the dessert menu, but perhaps others can.

And while the dinner menu is enough food for about four meals in one, I also cannot imagine having at least one show-stopping dessert.

This is that, combining pecans, pumpkin -- and cheesecake -- in one.

But I have a solution for my non-pumpkin friends. Add an extra 8 ounces of cream cheese and eliminate the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and you will have a delicious cheesecake with a hint of maple and a pecan topping. And that should meet with approval with all of your guests, except the ones who don't eat nuts.

Twenty-two days before the event, our dinner plans are still up in the air, which doesn't sit well with Mama Bear, but is a necessity borne of shift work careers. And among our top thanksgiving prayers this year is that everyone still has a job. So, the lack of a plan is not that big a thing (I keep telling myself).

Pumpkin or no, you'll love this. And if you serve it on the big day, you can easily make it a day ahead, refrigerate it overnight, and do the easy, quick topping in the morning. Win, win!

Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 inches square) around outside of a greased 9-inch spring form pan. Mix cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto bottom of prepared pan.

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Beat the cream cheese, sugars and maple syrup until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until blended. Whisk in the pumpkin, cornstarch, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice; pour over the crust. Place spring form pan in a larger baking pan; add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan.

Bake until center is just set and top appears dull, 70 to 80 minutes. Remove spring form pan from water bath. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan with a knife; remove foil. Cool for 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight, covering when cheesecake is completely cool.

For topping, combine whipping cream and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the toasted pecans. Refrigerate until well chilled.

Remove rim from pan. Stir the topping and spoon over chilled cheesecake. Serves 16.

To toast nuts: Bake in a shallow pan in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

(Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home, November 2016)

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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