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Savor fall with no-bake pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin season is just the best. Fall has always been my favorite season, with the leaves changing and the air getting slightly colder, just enough to be able to bundle up with scarves and boots, but not enough to have snow.

My husband and I recently visited California, and while I loved every second of it, especially the weather, it just wasn’t Western New York during the fall.

Some places did their best in trying to decorate according to the calendar, but pumpkins don’t look at home next to cactus and aloe plants. Not the way they do when surrounded by changing foliage and mums.

Although we may not be able to swim outdoors in October like some people in the country can, we still have fall.

We still have the fresh smell of grapes with crisp morning air, and fresh apples to pick.

I may be saying this in part to remind myself that I’m happy to live in Western New York and not California, but it’s still true.

One of the best ways to enjoy fall is with pumpkin smells, foods, and apple items alike. You may be bombarded with it from every direction right now, but ’tis the season!

Or you may be one of the few who genuinely does not like pumpkin anything, in which case, I am truly sorry.

Everyone has their stuff they don’t care for, and some people don’t care for anything.

Soon Christmas stuff will be out in stores and people will move on to complaining about that. You go ahead and complain, I’ll be smelling all the pretty things, and baking – or not baking – all the fall things.

Without getting on any soapboxes, here are a couple of super quick and simple desserts to make this season.

These are the last minute, ‘Can you please bring a dish to pass?’ kind of meals that we all need from time to time.

They may be simple, but that’s exactly where another person’s creativity can come into play. Go ahead and dress these up, having your own fun in your kitchen. Enjoy!

No-Bake Cheescake

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg.      Cream cheese, softened

1 C.         Canned, pureed, pumpkin

1/2 C.      Sugar

1/2 tsp.    Pumpkin pie spice

2 1/2 C.   Whipped cream, or cool whip

1              graham cracker crust, homemade or store bought.

Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice together until smooth. Mix in whipped cream or cool whip, and spoon into crust. 

Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm and serve. Quick and easy!!

Pumpkin Dessert Cups

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg.     Vanilla pudding mix

1 C.        Cold milk

1 can      Pureed pumpkin

Whipped cream

1 C.        Crushed graham crackers or gingerbread crumbs

Granulated Sugar

Cinnamon (optional)

First and foremost, decide on your ingredient for your first layer. Both graham crackers and gingerbread are an excellent flavor to compliment the pumpkin, but you could also use spice or pumpkin cake crumbles.

Really, the possibilities are endless.

 Stir about 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar into the crumbs (you can also add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to this mixture, but it isn’t necessary) and layer into cups.

Depending on the size of the cups that you are using, this recipe could yield anywhere between 6 large servings and 18 small servings. 

Using a mixer, combine the pudding mix and milk until smooth, for about two minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and add a dash of cinnamon. Mix well.

Next, layer a couple spoonfuls of pumpkin filling into the cups. Top with whipped cream. If desired, you may add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. 

As always, thank you for reading, and happy pumpkin season!

Katy Wise is a Fredonia resident.

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