Adventures in Eating & Cooking
For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to make pumpkin cheesecake, instead of pie because I now have the springboard pan for it! Plus, it’s written in my name to make cheesecake, literally, since I share a first name with the owner of Eileen’s Special Cheesecake in Soho (which sells stunning NY cheesecake).
First came the crust, which in my opinion MUST be homemade. I always make my own crust for cheesecake and pie, because I don’t want to buy that stale, trans-fatty stuff Pillsbury Doughboy tries to wheedle you into getting. Despite popular belief, it’s much more simple and fun to make your own crust. And graham cracker crust is not difficult to make. Just get some crushed grahams, sugar, and melted butter to meld them all together. I used brown and cinnamon sugars instead of white to stick with the autumnal program.
While baking the crust for 15 minutes, I proceeded to make the batter. I confess, I used my hands to mash up the cream cheese. But to be honest, this is the most effective way to blend creamy solids like cream cheese and butter. I went back to the whisk when I started beating in eggs though.
I whisked my batter to death: 40 times clockwise, 40 times counterclockwise, repeat, repeat, etc. After my right hand got tired, I switched to my left hand. I kept my eye on the batter to make sure it wasn’t over-beaten, but also that it was frothy enough.
I felt like I might have added a bit too much pumpkin and nutmeg, since they both have very strong flavor. I was also scared that I might not have enough batter, so I wanted to add more base: cream cheese. Bad news was, I didn’t have any cream cheese left… so I improvised. I got out one of my dad’s $1 fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt cups, scooped out all the vanilla yogurt, and plopped it into the mix. In my defense, this was the closest thing to cream cheese, and I wasn’t about to waste more time running out to the grocery store.
I had a really good feeling about my cheesecake because I couldn’t stop eating the batter. It was soooo bad, I kept spooning away the leftovers. I didn’t even care about Salmonella; I just did away with the remaining scraps of batter. Simultaneously, I had also been eating my leftover graham cracker crust mix during baking. I swear, I probably consumed a whole slice worth of cheesecake before even baking it!
And bake it, I did!
Yes, from the picture you can tell that my cheesecake cracked a little. This was partly because I had to stab at it a little in the oven to check if it was ready. The crack grew larger during the cooling process due to water evaporation. But it’s nothing a little bit of hot water and knife-smearing can’t fix!
And it was totally death-inducing delicious! Definitely not on the same level as the REAL Eileen who pumps out heavenly cheesecakes in Soho, but all our guests loved it. Unnie stole bites of Minkachu’s, and Lin Loo wanted to take an extra slice home. All the aunties wanted the recipe, so here it goes:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Pour in the melted butter and mix until coagulated. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each. Blend in the pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Taste the batter and adjust levels of cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, cream cheese, if desired.
Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until filling is set. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Allow to cool before removing pan rim. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
Please feel free to try out the recipe, and let me know how it goes. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! ~^^~