Let’s try a little social experiment. I am going to attach an electrode to your head. And then I am going to present you with two different phrases. I will then measure the neural activity that accompanies each phrase.
Waits thirty seconds.
Bourbon pumpkin cheesecake.
Mmmhmmm yes it was just as I suspected. You have alcohol-induced post-tetanic hyperpolarization. A very common syndrome that afflicts 99.9% of the adult population (and quite a few minors) in which the mention of any alcoholic substance in conjunction with a food induces a greater neurological response than the mention of the food alone. (Here is where you all breath a collective sigh of relief and think to yourself Oh good, maybe she IS learning something at that school. Other than how to bake artisan breads in 5 minutes a day. I will not disillusion you. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.)
The good news? This is NOT, I repeat NOT fatal.
The bad news? There is no known cure. Except possibly to gorge yourself on so much cheesecake that you become desensitized to it. But this would be quite a dangerous undertaking. Very few have done it and lived to tell the tale.
And sad, because is it actually worth living if you can’t enjoy a good slice of cheesecake with your Thanksgiving dinner? I think not.
I am proud to say that this was actually the most successful of all the Thanksgiving desserts. The crust was my absolute favorite part. I sat at the table after everyone had eaten their slices picking at the little bits that were left behind.
Don’t judge me.
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
- 1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounces), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (I used one can)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (NOT optional)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature (I used reduced fat cream cheese)
- 2 cups sour cream (20 ounces) (I used reduced fat)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (Again, NOT optional)
Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and grease pan. NOTE – I used a 10-inch springform pan.
Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.
Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.
Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 minutes.
Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.
FURTHER NOTES – I made this a day in advance and it kept very well in the fridge. I also did not bring it to room temperature before serving. No harm, no foul.