This holiday season, San Jacinto College culinary arts instructor Melissa Menendez
has put a seasonal twist on a classic dessert.
After a friend shared a sopapilla cheesecake recipe, Menendez, like any good chef,
fine-tuned the ingredients.
"I tweaked the recipe to my taste, added pumpkin, and — voila! — a holiday tradition
was born," Menendez said.
The special recipe isn't one she teaches to her students, but if they ask for a personal
recommendation, this is one she gladly shares.
Menendez prefers serving the cheesecake warm, but it can also be chilled before serving.
Here are her tips:
- Let the cheesecake come to room temperature before slicing.
- Use a sharp knife to cut portions.
- Use a cake spatula to serve.
- For those who like a little extra pizzazz, delicious add-ons include ice cream, whipped
cream, or fruit.
Holiday Pumpkin Sopapilla Cheesecake
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cans crescent roll dough
12 ounces canned pumpkin*
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick)
Honey, as needed, for final topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
- Beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, and first measurement of sugar with a hand
mixer or stand mixer paddle until well incorporated.
- Unroll the crescent dough and use a rolling pin to gently roll out each piece into
a 9x13 rectangle. Use one can for the top and one can for the bottom.
- Press one piece into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes until partially cooked.
Remove from oven and let cool briefly.
- Continue assembling the cheesecake: Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the
pan and bottom crust. Cover the cream cheese with the remaining piece of crescent
- Stir together the topping ingredients and spread over the top layer of dough.
- Bake about 40-45 minutes or until the top layer of dough has puffed and turned golden
brown. Remove from the oven. While it's still hot, drizzle with honey.
- Serve warm or cold. I think it's best baked and served the same day. Happy baking!
*Baker's note: You can eliminate the pumpkin and make a plain version. Reduce the
sugar in the main ingredients by 1/4 cup.