Holding on to holiday traditions
Everyone has a favorite dish they must have on certain holidays. My cousin Becki has to have sweet potato casserole, complete with the marshmallows, on Thanksgiving, and monkey bread is a must for my cousin Eric on Christmas morning. For me, my mom’s taco dip needs to be eaten at some point over the Christmas holiday, and Easter brunch isn’t complete without my Grandma’s cheesy potatoes. For my husband, it’s cheesecake.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, if it’s a holiday there will be cheesecake. It’s a tradition his grandma instilled and one we’re upholding. Thankfully we’ve graduated from the no-bake box variety to the break-out-the-springform-pan-and-make-your-own kind. The last time we hosted Christmas, we made peppermint cheesecake, and our first time hosting Thanksgiving we made this pumpkin cheesecake. It was the second best thing on our table, after the turkey of course!
Here’s to celebrating all holiday traditions, food-related and otherwise!
To prevent the top from cracking, be careful not to overmix the batter, and do not open the oven door while the cake is baking or cooling inside the oven. Good luck!
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 8 hours
Yield: Serves 12
For the crust:
• 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 10 whole crackers)
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
• 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese bars, very soft
• 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
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. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs (see tip below), sugar and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla and salt; 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 two hours more (without opening).
5. Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least four hours. Unmold before serving.
Tip: To make the crumbs for the crust, pulse graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Or, if you prefer, substitute the same amount of packaged graham-cracker crumbs.
Recipe courtesy of marthastewart.com.