Monday, September 26, 2011

The Pumpkin Cheesecake That Almost Wasn't

This past Sunday was my morning to bring breakfast to the adult Sunday School I greatly enjoy being a part of at our church.  We have been going through Francis Chan's book Crazy Love as a group and it has been a very convicting and thought-provoking study!

I had been dying to make a recipe for a Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust, and figured my since I was signed up to bring breakfast, this was a perfect opportunity to make it.  After all, who says you can't have cheesecake for breakfast?  I for one am perfectly fine with it!

The thing is, I should have known it was going to be an ordeal making this because before I even started, I went to wash out my KitchenAid mixer bowl (which was precariously perched on some other dishes waiting for some personal attention in my sink), threw some dish soap in it, and started to fill it with water.  This was evidently a bad idea because half a minute later I heard a SHA-WHAM and my daughter and I both jumped and turned to see my bowl falling into the sink with a crash and all the water flying in slow motion into the air and onto my floor.  She thought it was hilarious.

I threw some towels down to sop up the soapy water, and did the dishes that I should have done in the first place.  I do always feel better when I'm baking or cooking and start with a clean kitchen and empty sink, cause it doesn't take long for me to mess it up and fill it up when I'm on a roll!

I used my handy chopper that I've had forever to chop the gingersnaps.  I needed 1 1/2 cups...

Then mixed them with 6 TBSP melted butter and 3 TBSP granulated sugar, and patted it in the bottom of a springform pan.  I baked the crust at 350 for 4 to 5 minutes until just set, then let it cool.  Meanwhile I mixed 2 blocks of cream cheese and 3/4 cup light brown sugar until creamy.

Then I added 1 1/4 cup pumpkin and 3 large eggs and beat until smooth.  Then I added 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cloves, and continued beating until smooth.  The mixture smelled delicious!

I poured the smooth batter into the crust lined pan and put it in the oven.  Which is when things started to get crazy again.

Apparently I need a new springform pan because I am 99% sure it was some of the butter from the crust that had leaked all over my oven...because something sure had and I didn't realize it...and about a minute after putting in my cheesecake there was smoke billowing from the bottom of the oven and the kids were just sure the house was on fire.

I didn't know what to do, but I was not about to waste that scrumptious looking almost cheesecake!! So I did what every girl does in times like these. I called my mother.  And thankfully she lives just down the road so I asked her to heat her oven to 350, put the springform pan on a jelly roll pan, and very, very, very carefully drove it to her house.  Backing down my steep incline of a driveway was tricky, but the cheesecake arrived safely and went into her oven to bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

I drove back to my house where I started cleaning up the new mess in the kitchen.  My kids were happily playing with Star Wars lightsabers while I was busy at work.  I was just about done when I heard shrieking - make that bloodcurdling screams - from my little Jedi's.  There had been an accidental injury with both parties involved.  This was when my poor husband, who had been mowing the lawn oblivious to the chaos going on inside, had come in from his outdoor work.

(Note:  Saturday was the 13th anniversary of our first date.  We always eat Subway on this day because that's what we ate on our first date picnic in the park on a beautiful fall afternoon in the Blue Ridge Mountains during our Liberty University years.  I think it was about this point in the day between the smoky kitchen, noisy hood fan, and screaming children that we were pretty sure he should just run out and get the subs to bring home.  Ironically, with his sub he decided to warm up some leftover Bang Bang Shrimp, and one of them seriously blew up and left carnage all over our microwave.  It was a wild Saturday night around here, I'm telling you.)

Our lightsaber injuires were minor; the kids calmed down; my husband got the subs; I ran down and took the cheesecake out of my mom's oven (and it smelled comforting and yummy like Thanksgiving); and after it had cooled on a cooling rack for a few hours, I picked it up and put it in our refrigerator overnight.

The next morning I took it out and no one would have ever known the chaos that surrounded this scrumptious little cheesecake that almost wasn't.  It was fragrant and lovely!

It was a hit in Sunday School; and my mom commented when I picked it up from her house that she hopes I'll make one on Thanskgiving this year.  I think I will.

But only after I buy a new springform pan that doesn't leak.  And maybe evacuate the house.

Here's to coffee, chaos, contentment, and cheesecake!


*The recipe I used was from A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash by Lou Sibert Pappas.  Amazing cookbook!

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