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Step by Step: Marbled Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Gingersnap Tart

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I can’t wait. The food is always fantastic, the weather is still decent, and there's this beautiful amber light shimmering down. Plus there is very little drama like there is at Christmas - all you have to do is be thankful. That’s pretty easy.

Preparing and sharing food with loved ones is one of life's most simple pleasures. While everyone is tucking into their plates, I take a good look around at all of the lovely, gravy-stained faces, happy and thankful that I am where I am, and with who I'm with.

Pumpkin pie seems to be the dessert of choice around Thanksgiving, and I'll let you in on a little secret: I’m not a fan of the stuff. I mean, I'll eat it if offered a slice, but overall I just find pumpkin pie a little underwhelming. Weird thing is I love pumpkin and all of the delicious spices it parties with so well.

Pumpkin cheesecake is fabulous, but time consuming and a heavy hitter in the calories department. For something lighter and easier, I combined the best parts of pumpkin pie and cheesecake into a very pretty and delicious marbled tart. For the base, I used my food processor to grind up some store-bought ginger cookies. You can make your own and grind them up, but I like to use a good shortcut when I see one. I mixed these crumbs with good ol’ graham cracker crumbs. I find the two balance each other out well, but you could use all of one or the other. If you do use just plain graham, be sure to add some of those warm spices such as ginger, cinnamon and cloves to the mix.

Once you have your crust completed, work on the fillings, which are pretty straightforward. I use canned pumpkin purée because it’s nice and thick and has such a reliable consistency. If you’re using homemade pumpkin purée be sure it is thick, and not too watery otherwise the quality of the tart will be compromised. I’m a huge fan of marbling cream cheese into baked goods, and the appearance of this tart when it comes out of the oven is so pleasing to the eye! The hardest part is waiting for it to cool down before cutting into it.

You have two options when it comes to serving. Room temperature is fine, or you can refrigerate it and serve the tart cold, which is my preference. Thick and rich, but not overly heavy or sweet, this simple tart ticks all of those Thanksgiving dessert boxes. If there are any leftovers, a slice makes a dandy breakfast along with hot coffee. Be sure to have the recipe handy as I know you’ll get requests from your guests.

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