Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin Cheesecake, Charlie Brown!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Are you leaving out can-shaped cranberry sauce and a plate of candied yams for the Great Pumpkin Pie, who flies in to magically defrost the turkey you totally forgot to fridge-thaw three days ago? No...? OK, so that's totally made up, but if you do still have a twenty pound bird trapped in the Ice Age, attempting to thaw in your refrigerator, may the Force be with you, and keep the local pizza parlor on speed dial. If you're feeling the pressure of holiday meals, just focus on the best part: dessert. I was inspired by a recent dual-location pantry raid and put together a Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust.

Amazing what can come out of random pantry goods - Photo by Wasabi Prime

What's behind pantry number one? I pilfered the remaining box of Jojos from the office snack supply -- Trader Joes' version of Oreos, supposedly made with a slightly less-scary list of ingredients to make the cream filling. There were maybe about a dozen cookies left, the perfect amount for making a crust. Pulverizing them in a plastic bag, they were rendered to a sticky, crumbly mess. The cream filling made for an adequate glue to help press it into the bottom of a parchment paper-lined springform pan.

The second pantry being rummaged through was our own. I found a can of pumpkin puree, and while I'd normally save it for a classic pumpkin pie, I'm taking a stab at pumpkin pie from scratch this year, so no canned goods allowed. I had my vintage copy of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook, so I took their classic Motown Philly cheesecake recipe and modified it slightly for the sake of UnRecipe-ness. I used half the amount of cream cheese and added an extra egg, which yielded a more fluffy dessert, and not the typically dense cheesecake consistency. The flavor was light and sweet, and it didn't sink like a stone in one's stomach, but to be honest, I was kind of hoping for a more dessert density.

I'm not listing the modified recipe because I want to test it out again, add the original and frightening amount of cream cheese to get the traditional heavy richness, but with the pumpkin pie flavor. I may add more spices like cinnamon and allspice. As a dessert, the lighter version is perfectly enjoyable -- the team of professional taste testers, aka, my officemates, were kind enough to sample some slices. They were pleased with the result, but to quote the awkward genius of George McFly from Back to the Future: "Lorraine... you are my density... I mean... my DESTINY." I consider this post an unfinished date with density/destiny, and I hope to make this again with greater all-around success.

Until that dessert rematch, best of luck on your own Thanksgiving feasts. Remember to give thanks for the things that really count in life, beyond the perils of a dry overcooked bird. I wish bountiful feasts of goodwill, friends, family, and happy memories for everyone out there. And a slice of pumpkin pie with extra whipped cream, of course. Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, as an extra bonus, I have an announcement to say that foodie-fab blogger and Kreativ Blogger Award-winner, The Hungry Dog, did a "TAG, you're it!" on the Prime for revealing seven facts (foodie and non-foodie alike) about herself. Seven facts! Makes me think of that line from Something About Mary, about the Seven Minute Abs.

Factoid Uno: As a child, I decided I didn't like seafood only because my dad didn't like it. Am working on reversing this logic polarity of dumb-sandwichville.

Fact Part Deux: I am double-jointed and can pick up nickels with my freaky knuckle tendons.

Fact Episode III: I do not know how to ride a bike and will probably not pick up this skill anytime soon, because my motor coordination is EPIC FAIL.

Fantastic Fact 4: I am a sci-fi geek who likes comic books and other nerdy things, but does not play video games. Again, hand-eye-coordination EPIC FAIL.

Facticazzo Five: I find dogs cuter than babies (sorry, little ones -- get a fuzzy face and a wagging tail and maybe we can negotiate something)

Facto Sixo: Telly Monster on Sesame Street annoys the hell out of me. The rest of the Muppets are awesome-sauce, however.

Seven Minute Facts: I could eat potato chips all day, which is why I don't buy them. God help me.

Now comes the fun part - TAG, you're IT: SJBe, South Sound Garden, Tokyo Terrace, Velveeta Ain't Food, Tiny Urban Kitchen, Sense & Serendipity, Radish & Rose.

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  1. As far as I love your cake, I also love your "seven facts".
    Just to let u know, I'm not into sci-fi, prefers babies to dogs. But I do enjoy eating chips all day and good at biking!
    Most importantly, we are foodie friends who love food!

  2. I love anyone that can turn jojos into a pie crust and quote Back to the Future. Nice! I'm with you on the dogs-over-babies thing, absolutely. Happy thanksgiving!

  3. Your cheesecake looks fantastic. I've never tried pumpkin cheesecake. Definitely seems like a good time to do so.

  4. That the Back to the Future quote is the best thing I've heard all day. gorgeous picture too!

  5. Your writing is always a great read. I love readint them all the time. I also had a good laugh and your cheesecakel looks adorable. Okay, I don't know how to ride a bike either. It's one of the things I want to learn. And honestly and something embarrassing, I also need to face my fear of driving in this city. :D At least I get to know you better. Now, I have to think seven facts about me. Thanks for the tag. :D

  6. The cheesecake looks fabulous! I love the pecans on top! Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. That thing is a feast for the eyes! A work of art! A pie in the sky! I am glad I am safe from it's pumpkiny wrath!

  8. Looks delicious! Wonderful photo on Tastespotting!

  9. your facts are hilarious! i say epic fail ALL THE TIME!

    i have no hand eye coordination but i can do video games (button mashin HOLLAH!)

    i can waggle my first finger joint like the finger nail joint coz i'm double jointed as well. rock it!

  10. Wow! Gotta love this pumpkin cheesecake. The picture is so pretty!! I almost wanted to bite into it!

  11. I love that pumpkin cheesecake, so yummy-looking and I enjoyed reading your seven facts :) for someone with poor hand-eye coordination skill, you are pretty good in the kitchen..:)

  12. Hey,

    Where is the skillet sensation you posted on twitter earlier? That s(%t looked amazing!


  13. @Eric - LOL, we om-nom-nommed the Thanksgiving leftover skillet breakfast before I could take a real photo, but I may make it again and take a better pic for a post!


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