Some days we forget to look around us,
Some days we can't see the joy that surrounds us,
So caught up inside ourselves,
We take when we should give,
So for tonight, we pray for what we know can be
And on this day, we hope for what we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for.
- Josh Groban
My house, my table, my turkey. 2010
Two important people in my life dodged cancer this week. Two people who don't have any idea of each other were both tested for two separate issues and cleared of cancer. If you were privy to the details of their journies, you too would believe in miracles. I have been led to a place of grace and thankfulness. It would make sense that this entry be dedicated to remembrance, thankfulness and blessings.
I consider myself a quiet, humble cook dedicated to learning more culinary skill than I will ever be able to absorb in a lifetime, but I have to tell you, I'm pretty damn good at making cheesecake. The passion started back in 2002. I had always been curious about the cheesecake and not having grown up with the indulgence, thought it romantic (my husband says, "romantical". Is that even a word?) enough to gather tons of recipes and put them in the "One Day" pile. One day I will make this. Finally, my one day had come. It was the December 2002 Dinner Club and I drew the dessert card. My choice was a chocolate and peppermint cheesecake covered with rich chocolate ganache and sprinkled with broken candy cane pieces. It was divine. If you don't believe me, you can ask Stephanie, my Dinner Club friend, who warms me with her memory of this dessert, still, years after I originally made it. I love that this is a special memory for her. Since then, I have made several and have come to realize that although I was not seeking it, over time, I had mastered the craft of cheesecakes. It had become "my thing."
This is the last I-don't-know-what-to-make-for-Thanksgiving-dessert-and-im-tired-of-pumpkin-pie cheesecake recipes. So, here we go. A Pumpkin Cheesecake masterpiece just between you and me.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Read recipe all the way through prior to purchasing your ingredients.
1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers, crushed
1/2 C. sugar
6 T. melted butter
3 8 oz. packages of cream cheese
1/2 C. sugar
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
To crush the graham crackers, I put them in a large baggy and use my rolling pin to roll them until they are uniformly crushed. Add the sugar and mix well. Pour contents into a heat proof glass dish and add butter mixing to combine. Pour crust mixture into prepared springform pan. A springform pan is the one you have in the very back of your bakeware that has a flat bottom and an "O" ring that attaches to form the pan. These are very cool. Carefully smooth out the crust, pressing with your fingertips and make sure it is covering the bottom of the pan and that it goes half way up the sides of the pan. Bake at 325 for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, add cream cheese, sugar and eggs and blend well on medium speed. Beat in eggs one at a time and add puree stirring with attachment until combined. At this time, add your vanilla extract and spices, cinnamon through salt. Mix well. Pour cake contents into springform pan over the prepared crust. Bake at 325 for an hour and a half. Check on your cheesecake, but do not open the door. Opening the door results in loss of heat and your cheesecake will take longer to cook and you will get cracks when cooling. When your timer goes off, check for doneness by slightly jiggling the cake. The center should be spingy and move just slightly. If it wobbles a lot, it's not done yet. When your cake is done, remove it from the oven and let cool for an hour and a half. At this time, you can either refriderate or put the icing on. Do not remove the ring from your springform pan until after you have added the icing and it's been refrigerated for at least an hour.
1/4 C. sugar
1 tub sour cream
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Spread over cheesecake making sure its entirely covered. Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating. When you are ready to eat, remove cheesecake from the refrigerator and pop off the O ring.
Enjoy with family and friends. Oh, and don't forget to say grace.