A PR rep sold me on trying this recipe by saying it was the perfect dessert to make “when you might not be the best cook in the kitchen.”

Fair enough.

Not everyone wants to invest time in pie crust and water baths when the holidays are in full swing, but we all want to serve a dessert that tastes like we did. “No-bake” recipes typically aren’t sophisticated – there’s no pesky nuance to distract you – but  who’s going to complain about a bright pumpkin filling with cream cheese, butter, vanilla, nutmeg and powdered sugar?

It’s got all the major food groups.

And, “no-bake” means no fuss. No baking time beyond the seven minutes the crust spends in the oven. No water bath. No pastry to roll and shape.

Add a healthy spoonful or two of whipped cream, and you’ve got a cold, creamy dessert that won’t cost you much time or money. And no one else has to know.

Easy Refrigerator Pumpkin Cheesecake

Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Serves 8

    Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (regular or gluten-free)*
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    Filling:

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (preferably 365 100% Pure Canned Pumpkin)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened*
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages Neufchatel or cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted*
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use a long, thin rectangle of parchment paper or foil to line the inside edge of a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  2. For the Crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan and about 1/4-inch up the sides. Bake until golden brown and toasted, 7 to 8 minutes; set aside to let cool completely.
  3. For the Filling: In a medium bowl, beat pumpkin purée, remaining softened butter, cream cheese, vanilla, nutmeg and salt with an electric mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to medium low and add sugar 1/4 cup at a time; beat until smooth. Transfer pumpkin mixture to prepared pan, spreading it out evenly over the crust.
  4. Cover and chill until set, about 6 hours, or overnight. Remove outer ring of pan. Cut into slices and serve.

*Gluten-Free Tip: Make sure your graham crackers, butter and powdered sugar are gluten-free.