Friday, January 7, 2011

Give up on the Cheesecake? Fuhgeddaboutit!

Seems to be the year for somewhat odd, low-key holidays.  Not that I'm complaining, it's nice every now and then to be in a slower gear at what is usually such a busy time of year with way too much stress.  I find that closing everything out at school before the holiday break is stressful--it's one of the few unbroken stretches of instruction, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and in my school the semester changes a few weeks after we return, so it's pretty intense.  I'm usually tired and stressed at work, trying to manage the Christmas shopping, and doing baking and/or cooking all at the same time.  This year, though, we weren't having the usual crowd of people at my mom's, so we had more time at our own home just hanging out. And since my parents return here from Florida for the holiday, we don't have to drive anywhere!

So when I found myself with some time suddenly on Christmas Eve morning, I decided to use up the fresh pumpkin from the CSA in a homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust from Fine cooking.  It's a recipe that I have made for years, and it's always amazing. I don't think I've made it with fresh pumpkin before, so that was a risk, plus I was feeling a little ill and spacey before I started, so I should have known it would be an......interesting experience.
Mi-Del, Swedish Style Ginger Snaps, 10-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)
It began by grinding up my favorite brand of cookies, Mi-Del. I  absolutely cannot have their Vanilla Snaps in the house because I want to eat the whole bag.  Will had broken into them the night before, so I was worried about not having enough. After grinding them, I measured in the brown sugar and pulsed it again, thinking it made quite more than I remembered. Just as I'm about to put in the melted butter, it dawns on me that I measured the amount of brown sugar for the FILLING (a cup more!) instead of for the crust. See what I mean about spacey?

I decided to persevere nonetheless.  I find baking to be much more challenging than cooking.  I'm always determined to conquer my baking foibles, so I improvised and got out a fine sieve and strained the crumb mixture to separate out the sugar!
It seemed like it would work!
But then I went to mix the filling and realized I didn't have nearly 15 ounces of fresh pumpkin.  Again, I plowed on.  I figured it would still be tasty, as long as I used all the spices.  In fact, I always add more cinnamon than the recipe calls for.  Plus, I was using fresh farm eggs, and that always kicks a recipe up a bit!

As it was baking--and it takes nearly two hours--I glanced to the last line of the recipe.  My heart sank.  It's supposed to chill OVERNIGHT and I had planned to serve it that night.  With my chef brother there.  Ugh.  I counted off the hours on my fingers, and figured that I could have baked it late the night before, and it would have maybe 6 hours?  Maybe it would be okay?
Here it is, in the fridge. CHILL, Baby, CHILL!

So if you ever wondered if you REALLY need to let a good cheesecake chill overnight, the answer is YES. And NO.  Because no one complained, it still tasted great. But it was a pain in the buttOCKS to slice.  See, the chilling is so it sets nicely and slices up into a nice neat, beautiful slice on your plate.  But my dad, the consummate complainer, said he liked it even more than pumpkin pie.  Chef Lee said, "Of course, because there's cheese in it! Everything tastes good with cheese in it!"  Amen, brother!  and the crust?  It tasted like toffee/caramel it was so sweet--almost crunchy!

But, hey.  That didn't stop me from having a slice on Christmas Day.  With fresh whipped cream?  Fuhgeddaboutit!


  1. Here's what my brother posted on my Facebook link: "Fuhgeddaboutit is right, it tasted great! I always say, when cooking it isn't like your setting a marble counter-top, where once its set your F#$#ed if you didn't set it right. With food we can always improvise and 9 out of 10 times you actually create a new and exciting dish....My sister is a great cook.........Fugeddaboutit."

  2. I haven't had cheesecake in ages! And I agree with Lee- you are a helluva cook!


If you visit my blog, leave me a comment. If you cook anything because you've read the blog, I'd love to hear about it!