Thoughts of making "real" cheesecake can be intimidating. My motto about most such things is "You never know until you try." The secret is following the recipe to a T. Make this a day ahead of time and do not rush the process. Even if the top cracks, meaning it's not perfect, it will taste terrific. Cover it with the topping and enjoy the raves.
Servings: 12 Preparation Time: 30-45 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes Cooling time total: 7 hours
Ingredients for the crust
1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs
(from 10 whole crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for the cake
4 packages (8 ounces each) bar cream cheese,
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
Ingredients for topping (if desired)
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Wine Basted Turkey
Cornbread, Yam, and Apple Stuffing
Easy Cheesy Brussels Sprouts
Cran-Apple Spinach Salad
Directions for the cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.
2. To make the crust, pulse graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. In a medium bowl, mix crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.
3. While the crust is cooling, make the filling. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth. Mix in flour (do not over mix). Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt and mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.
4. Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).
5. Remove from oven; cool completely on wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap, not touching the cake. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.
6. Unmold by loosening cheesecake from sides of pan using a small knife or offset spatula. Place on serving plate and remove pan collar.
Directions for the topping
After the cheesecake is chilled, mix the topping ingredients. Carefully spread it over cheesecake. Refrigerate at least another hour until chilled. Keep in refrigerator until serving time.
Good cooking to you, and Happy Thanksgiving!