My absolute favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is cornbread dressing and this Food Network Almost Famous Cheesecake. (I don’t know why they call it almost famous, because in my house it is famous!)
Make it early and eat it on Tuesday or Wednesday so you can enjoy it before you are stuffed. (As an added bonus, it will help stretch your stomach before the big day.)
Whip up some heavy cream to go with it. (At this point, what’s a few more calories?)
Crust: 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted) and 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
Filling: 2 3/4 cups sugar, salt, 2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin, 6 large eggs, at room temperature (lightly beaten), 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Brush a 10-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir together the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake at 325 degrees until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt and the spices and beat until just combined. Pour into the cooled crust.
You will need to use a water bath to evenly cook the cheesecake. Wrap the bottom and side of the pan in foil so that nothing can seep through. Place the pan in a large roasting pan and then pour enough hot water so that it comes up about halfway on the springform pan. For a more detailed description of this technique, see http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/almost-famous-pumpkin-cheesecake-recipe2/index.html
Bake about 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose. Turn off the oven and open the door for a couple of minutes to let out some heat. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, then take it out of the oven and remove it from the roasting pan. Run a knife around the edges. Cover and refrigerate the cake at least 8 hours or overnight.
In the words on my son, It’s so good it will make you want to slap a pilgrim.
I’m guessing that you’ll love it so much, you’ll make it again for Christmas.