Well, hello there, lovely blog readers. Sorry for my neglect of this space. My attention is spread relatively thin these days parenting teenagers, writing the cookbook, and being at my dog, Davy’s, beck and call 24/7. It’s a good thing he sleeps most of the day because when he’s awake, he’s quite the little tyrant.
Thankfully, the teenagers are not nearly as demanding, though there is never a dull moment with twin 15-year-olds in the house. I remind myself to breathe through all the changing plans and emotions (when that fails, there’s wine, boxing class, or walks with my little tyrant). If life has taught me anything, it’s that we’d better grab joy and peaceful moments when we can, and that’s basically become my parenting style. They are plenty hard on themselves, and I actually find they are more productive when I’m not pushing and nagging them. Funny how that works.
I’m happy to report I’ve made a ton of progress on the cookbook, and I hope to have a rough copy in my hands by the end of the year (fingers crossed). From there, I can fine-tune it and get ready to publish it in the spring. If you want regular updates on the release, follow me on Instagram and Facebook! I’m even making reels now cause I’m cool like that. (Fake it til you make it, right?)
I made this beautiful fall treat last night, just in time to share it with you for Thanksgiving. It’s so smooth and delicous, your guests will forget all about pie.
16 servings (Plan to make one day ahead to allow the cheesecake to be fully set.)
*Special equipment: 9-inch Springform pan and large, high-sided roasting pan for the water bath
1 3/4 cups finely ground graham crackers (12 whole crackers)
1 cup ground pecans or ground gingersnaps
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
15 ounces of pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Combine the graham crackers with the pecans or gingersnaps (whichever you prefer, I used gingersnaps), in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground. Add the melted butter and mix until well-combined.
Line a 10 -inch springform pan tightly with foil, making sure there are no punctures. This will prevent water from getting in when the cheesecake bakes in the water bath. Transfer the graham cracker mixture to prepared spring-form pan and press down to form a crust on the bottom of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool while you make the filling. Leave the oven on.
Whip the cream cheese until is it completely smooth, frequently scraping the sides of the bowl. Whipping thoroughly will deliver a nice light texture.
Gradually, add sugar, eggs, sour cream, pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, beating well and scraping sides after each addition. You want it to be free of any cream cheese chunks!
Pour the batter over the crust in the spring-form pan.
Place the unbaked cheesecake in a water bath before placing it in the oven. To prepare the water bath, take a pan a little larger than the spring-form (a turkey roaster works nicely, I doubled up the heavy foil ones from the grocery store), place the spring-form inside of it, and fill it half-way up the side of the pan with warm tap water. This will create steam and prevent it from drying and cracking in the oven.
Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. The top should be golden brown (there may be a slight crack in the top – don’t worry, it’s fine).
Remove the cheesecake from the water bath onto a kitchen towel. Cool slightly, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Remove the foil from the chilled cheesecake and set it on a serving plate or cutting board. Use a sharp knife dipped in hot water to cut the cheesecake and have a cloth handy to wipe off excess cheesecake. Cut it in half first, then quarters and so on, to make the slices uniform. If you have patience and make sure to wipe off the knife and dip it the hot water before every slice, you will have perfect results. Really.
Top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon before serving.
I would be remiss if I didn’t express how grateful I am to the countless friends and family members who have helped me be a (mostly) whole, walking, talking, cooking, writing, parenting person over the past ten months. It will be strange and difficult, to say the least, for my girls and I to face the holidays without Bob this year. Knowing how many people have our backs, we’ll make it through no matter how messy the emotions are, and we’ll be sure to allow ourselves the comforts of the season.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.”Brene Brown