Sunday, October 31, 2010

Comfort food!


I want to begin by saying that I almost decided not to ever post this.  But I decided to go ahead do it.  You will soon understand why.  

I have a close group of friends from my undergrad.  They are wonderful people and I love them dearly.  Every month, we try to get together for a dinner.  We all rotate who will host the dinner, and it was my turn for the month of October.  I decided on a theme of "comfort".  Comfort food, comfort clothes (yay, sweat pants) and a comfortable competition!

Here is everything you will need to host your own "Maybe if you ate more comfort food, you wouldn't go around shooting people (A lengthy party title, I know, but it's a quote from Hugo, from Lost, a show that I loved).
Three different types of chili.

Rummikub (or any other type of game) and prizes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake! (See below)

Things for guests to bring: fritos, chips, tortillas, cheese, cornbread, drinks, etc.  

The party was fun, relaxing and comfortable.  Buuuut, the party was almost ruined by a near baking failure.  Which is why I almost did not go through with this post...  Just be warned, I almost killed the key component to this night of comfort. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake
This recipe came partly from my mother and partly from a coworker, with little tidbits from info online I found about making a cheesecake.  This was the first time I had made a cheesecake by myself, so it was an adventure (as you will see).

For the crust...

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
dash of cinammon (I would also be curious to add perhaps some nutmeg or pumpkin spice next time...) 

For the cheesecake...

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup sour cream (Again, used reduced fat)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin pie mix (this amount is flexible, depending on your pumpkin preferences)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg

For the toppings...

Caramel (Next time, I want to make my own...but for this go around, we used store bought)
Whipped Cream

For the cooking...
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Mix graham crackers, sugar, melted butter and cinnamon until well blended.  (I had to do this in two halves because my mixer is so tiny, but it worked out perfectly)

  • Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a cheesecake springform pan.  Bake for 7 minutes. 

  •  Drop the oven temperature down to 325 degrees F.

  • Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.  Then, blend in eggs one at a time.  

  • Fold in the sour cream.

  • Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter and gently spread it over the crust in the cheesecake springform pan. 

  • Add pumpkin mix, cinnamon and nutmeg and blend at a low speed until everything is well mixed.  

  • Spread over the batter in the crust!

  • Bake for an hour. 

  • Turn off the oven, leave cheesecake in the oven for another hour (this prevents the cheesecake from cracking).

  • Refrigerate for at least three hours.

  • Spoon on a layer of caramel and/or whipped cream.

Theoretically, this should result in a beautiful, pumpkin cheesecake.  Buuuuut, when I opened up the stove, I found this.


I realized that I probably put the cheesecake too close to the top of the oven, thus the cheesecake looked super burned, which resulted in a super panicked me because I did not have the time or ingredients to bake it again. 

A little less panicked.
  But then, I started peeling off the top layer, and suddenly I was very, very relieved.  It was perfect! 

Not so panicked at all any more.

 Underneath the crispy top was a perfectly baked cheesecake! 

Adding the layer of caramel helped hide some of this near bake failure.  Adding the whipped cream would have covered it completely, but some of the guests who attended the party did not like whipped cream, so we opted to let people put it on their own individual slices.

Not extremely aesthetically pleasing.  But what Katelyn and I really focus on is form AND function.  In this case, I'd say this is about 25% form (not so pretty) and 75% function (delicious!).

 As I said earlier, I almost did not post this, but really the best part was no one even knew that I almost killed the dessert, and I received lots and lots of compliments.  I am pretty sure I will be making it again for Thanksgiving, I'm sure my family will love it. 

Oh, and please have a happy halloween!


  1. I love it! So funny. I could imagine the dread of seeing your cheesecake the first time ahahaa

  2. mmm Pumpkin Cheesecake. I'm salivating... Maggie, this sounds delicious


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