Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake - A Family Affair


Dear readers, I have a special treat for you today: my great aunt Louise has offered to guest post!  She's an incredible cook and her pumpkin cheesecake has been a star of our family Thanksgivings for the past few years, so I had to ask her to share it with you.  I know the holiday is over, but this dessert is amazing no matter what the occasion - let me know if you make it!



I’m so glad that Betsy invited me to be a guest blogger here.  This is a new thing for me, so be kind!  Betsy asked me to tell you about the pumpkin cheesecake I’ve been making for family Thanksgivings for the past several years, and I will.  However, I’d also like to tell you how Betsy inspired our family to start getting together more often and how much that means to me.

I’m married to Betsy’s great-uncle Seth.  So I’m her great-aunt-in-law.  Lots of hyphens there, for sure.  Over the years I knew Betsy as one of a pair of darling little girls at family weddings.  Aside here—one of my happiest memories is of her Pappy playing the piano with both of them at an after wedding party .  He was so patient, and they were having so much fun!

Anyway, years went on as they do, and there weren’t many family weddings.   Little girls grow up.  Betsy graduated college and had a summer job here in Charlottesville before she was going to head off to London to graduate school.  We invited her to dinner.  In walked this tall, beautiful, intelligent, and charming young lady.  Seth and I really enjoyed getting to know the all-grown-up version of little Betsy.  Conversation turned to music.  Betsy and I went into the library to look for a version of Pur ti Miro on YouTube.   And also, both being Anglophiles, we searched for various versions of the song  Jerusalem.   What a sight we must have been—a nice Jewish girl and your basic Methodist, both as American as, shall we say, pumpkin cheesecake (I will get to that, truly), singing a hymn that is just about as British as you can get.  We had a ball! 

We had so much fun that Betsy thought we should share it with the rest of the family.  She looked around the house and decided where everyone could stay if we had a family Thanksgiving at our house.  AND WE DID!!!  The next Thanksgiving Betsy and Sarah and their parents, Nana and Pappy, and Betsy’s Uncle Mark and his wife Joanna all came to our house, and it was wonderful.  So now we all get together somewhere for Thanksgivings.  Jon has been added to the mix and adds a delightful British flavor to the gatherings.  This year Seth’s son David and his lovely Hungarian doctor partner Kryztina were with us also.  I am so thankful that we have started this tradition of being together for Thanksgiving.  It has made us closer, and we tend to get together more during the year also.  So thank you, Betsy!


Now, on to the cheesecake - here's the recipe for the version that inspired mine.  I simplified the one we serve quite a bit.  The marshmallow topping had to go since, as a vegetarian, I don’t want the gelatin in it.  Then I nixed a formal crust.  I like to focus on the actual cheesecake, so I just oil the pan and then dust it with crumbs.  This year I had special crumbs made from ginger cookies brought to us from Sweden by David and Krystina!  Seth took a photo of almost everything I used in the recipe.  The only thing missing are the blueberries and roasted apple-pear sauce that I decided to add at the last minute.

My one special thing is to actually roast a pumpkin and puree it instead of using canned pumpkin.  I imagine the canned tastes just as good, but my youngest grandson just loves me to make pies and pumpkins out of actual pumpkins.  So for Quincy that’s just what I do even when he’s not here to eat them.  I just put all the ingredients in a food processor and puree like crazy.  That’s my standard way to make all cheesecakes except for the ones with beaten egg whites.  Works great!  Then I bake according to the recipe.  The cake always looks so great just coming out of the oven, nice and puffy.  (See photo!)  But it always falls.  Time for topping.


I like fruit toppings for cheesecakes, and what could be more suitable for Thanksgiving than cranberry topping?  I started off to make a topping pretty much like regular cranberry sauce.  Then I remembered that I had a few frozen blueberries that needed to be used.  In they went with the 12 oz of fresh cranberries and the cup of sugar.  Then there was supposed to be a cup of water, but that sounded too boring.  I had some roasted apple and pear sauce, so I did about a half cup of that and a half cup plus of water.  Then I just boiled it all down to a wonderful thick and jammy consistency and spread it out on top of the cheesecake.  My husband took a photo of it as well as all the other photos.  I hope you all enjoyed your thanksgiving as much as we did, and that you also have someone in your family like Betsy who inspires you all to get together.



17 comments:

  1. Such a sweet story! And that cheesecake! Looks amazing.

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  2. haha yes I realized after scheduling it last week that it makes me look quite good :) but really really the cheesecake is the star of the story!

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  3. Mmmm this looks delicious! Thank you for sharing this story and family recipe with us!


    xxx
    Jenna

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  4. So sweet, I love this!

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  5. Louise is going to love these comments! thank you :)

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  6. I loved this post! I felt like I was sitting next to Louise and hearing this story in person. And yay for a yummy recipe too!

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  7. Dear Great-Aunt Louise, please get your own blog- in the best way. I love your writing and want to read it daily!!

    What a great story and recipe!! I'm not a fan of cheesecake, but you're my kind of baker in switching up flavors and using what's on hand even if it's not quite what's called for in the recipe. Oh, and I just bought a pie-pumpkin and am excited to embark on that adventure! Making my own pies and cakes has put me off store-bought completely (with the occasional boutique bakery exclusion, of course!) so I'm hoping homemade purée is even better than canned.

    Thanks, Betsy, for sharing Louise with us!

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  8. clearly we're going to have to bring Louise back for another guest post in the spring- she's a hit :)

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  9. I do. You all are very kind.

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  10. yum yum, this looks delicious. Also, one of my favorite guest posts that I've ever seen!

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  11. La Chapstick FanatiqueNovember 29, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    oh my goodness that looks amazing!!


    http://lachapstickfanatique.blogspot.com

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  12. it took me longer than I care to admit to figure out that those were cranberries on top.

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  13. okay, it's confirmed: she;ll have a regular spot here!

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  14. it kind of looked like a meat patty, even though that makes no sense. I don't know. it's been a long week.

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  15. I've never heard of pumpkin cheesecake before (or at least, I don't think I have), but that cake look truly delicious. :)

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