Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Let me begin this by saying this is my first dessert to post and the reason for that is simple: I am not a baker. My past attempts have not fared so well. There was this one time I accidentally tripled a recipe because I didn't pay attention to the measuring cup (it held 3 cups, not just one, total ditz moment...), then another time I tried to make Max some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from scratch and they came out flatter than crepes, though I swear, I did everything the recipe said. Baking to me is so precise, there is no room for spontaneity, if you add one teaspoon more, it's ruined (in most cases). I love to cook because I can add a pinch of this, a dash of that, over flowing scoops or simply leave something out, whatever I want, and it works - no such luck in the baking world.

The last time I baked something was last year before Thanksgiving, Mr. Max and I made a pumpkin cheesecake. I swear, without his help, it would have been a disaster - he is wired the right way to bake, very accurate on everything. Makes sense for my finance guy.

The pumpkin cheesecake was a hit and so tonight on this Thanksgiving's Eve, we revive the recipe from Paula Deen and hope for yet another triumph!

Grocery List:
For the crust
- 1 and 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 stick melted butter

For the cheesecake
- 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs plus 1 yolk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start by pre-heating your oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine together the crumbs, sugar and cinnamon, then add the melted butter.

Press it down in a 9-in springform pan. Bake in the oven for 7 minutes.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth and then add the pumpkin, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla, beat until well combined.

I don't have one of the fancy KitchenAid mixers so my beaters will have to work!

Pour into pan on top of crust, spread out evenly and place in the oven for one hour.

To prevent cracking, place an oven safe bowl filled 1/2 way with water in the oven with your cheesecake, otherwise known as a water bath. You can place the springform pan in this dish, or place it on the oven rack below your baking cheesecake. I did the latter method because my pan didn't fit into any of the dishes that I could put in the oven.

Once finished, remove from oven and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I meant to get a picture of this with the homemade whipped cream my aunt made, but I got distracted and didn't get the single slice picture! I had some issues with the transport to my Aunt's house so the cover slightly removed part of the top... oops.

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