HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Can I use fresh pumpkin puree in a pumpkin cheesecake......

..... that calls for canned?

I've made an epicurious pumpkin cheesecake recipe several times with great success (with canned Libby pumpkin)... I want to make it for xmas with fresh puree from pie pumpkins (currently being stored in my freezer). I know that usually you can use them interchangeably but for some reason I am nervous with the cheesecake. Any opinions? THANKS!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sure you can. I've made pumpkin cheesecake with fresh pumpkin lots of times. Some people say you can't tell the difference, but I really think the fresh pumpkin is better.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kathleen M

      Did you feel like you had to bump up the amount of spices when starting with fresh pumpkin?

    2. I use fresh pumpkin all the time. The only issue I have with it is that fresh pumpkin generally has more liquid than canned. After the pumpkin thaws put it in a cheese cloth lined strainer and let it drain for an hour or so and you should be fine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Fiona

        Or in a strainer lined with a coffee filter. You'll be amazed how much water comes out of it. The stuff in the cans is already strained.

      2. For my pies I take the mashed pumpkin and put it in a strainer over a pan overnight. By morning all of the excess water has drained out.

        1. Thank you for all the replies. I agree that the flavor of fresh pumpkin is superior in baked goods over canned pumpkin, yet canned pumpkin has the advantage of practically no variability from can to can. YES, the excess water is exactly what I was concerned about, in something as potentially finicky as cheesecake. I have a feeling I'm going to go with canned pumpkin since I'm bringing this to someone's house and won't get a chance to taste it before serving.

          2 Replies
          1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

            Ah c'mon , where's your sense of adventure? It will be fine, just drain it first. I make around 6-8 pumpkin pies from scratch every Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and everyone loves them. One thing I do different is that I use Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins, and just mash them-not pureed. Look at it this way, if they don't come out just right everyone will help get rid of the evidence =) My SIL always tried new recipes out on a group. Who knows, you may make a screaming good cheesecake this way, but you won't know unless you try.

            1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

              Haha!!! Cheesecake and I have a rocky past so I hesitate to be adventurous with it. But, I have decided to give it a whirl. I'm going to put it to drain now (doesn't seem too watery) and make it in a couple of hours. I will report back!

          2. as others have said, absolutely! to get rid of excess moisture, i treat it as though i'm making pumpkin butter (without the sugar), and either nuke it on medium high in the microwave, or if you feel like it, let it simmer over medium heat stirring til some of the moisture evaporates. (you could also add some of the sugar to the pumpkin as it reduces, and let it caramelize a bit.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Emme

              That's what I do, too. I let it simmer in a saucepan till it's the consistency of canned pumpkin. It will be ready in no time, and I think dries it out better than draining it can do. I just love the flavor of the real stuff.

            2. So far so good. After draining, the consistency of my puree was similar to that of canned, and I snuck a taste of the batter and it tasted great... love the flavor of fresh puree. The finished product looks beautiful, so I'm hoping it will be a hit.

              1. Just wanted to report back that the final product tasted great. As it was cooling the cheesecake cracked terribly but that was because I was lazy and didn't do a water bath. The flavor was very delicate and everyone raved. One thing I would do differently next time is really pulverize that puree. It was not as smooth as it should have been but no one noticed but me. Thanks for the help, all. Cheers!

                3 Replies
                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                  In pumpkin pie, I like the earthy texture of real pumpkin - I never puree it. But maybe in cheesecake, I might be tempted to.... I don't know...I kind of like the idea of a less refined cheesecake.
                  I'm glad you took the chance - and happy to hear it was a hit.

                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                    Same here with my pies, I just mash the pumpkin. The texture is one of the things that I get good comments on.

                  2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                    water bath or not, i cool mine in the oven... when it's basically done, i'll turn off the oven, maybe crack it a bit, maybe not. no cracks.