Pumpkin-chevre-cream cheese bars

There is just practically no limit to the dishes I want to make with pumpkin at this time of year. Breads, custards, muffins, bars, side dishes, etc, etc. The vegetable is on my top-10 list. And now that I think of it, it’s not just for this time of year.

One Perfect Bite had this up today, and I am tweaking it to add chevre in place of one third the cream cheese. This substitution cuts the fat and makes the bars healthier…if you can get fresh chevre, the flavor will be divine.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares…from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

1 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup gingerbread cookie crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature

8 0unces room temperature fresh goat cheese (chevre)
1 (15 ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2) Combine crust ingredients. Remove 1/2 cup of mixture and set aside. Firmly press remainder of crumbs onto bottom of prepared pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
3) Combine cream cheese, chevre and sugar in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Beat in canned pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, mace, nutmeg, cloves, salt, vanilla and orange zest. Add eggs and heavy cream and beat on low speed until just combined. Pour filling over crust.
4) Bake for 35-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour; then cover and chill for at least 8 hours. I chill them overnight. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs just before cutting cake into squares.

Yield: 20 servings.