Italians eat cheesecake. Whether it was all my Italian relatives that did this, or just my household, I’m not entirely sure. Regular cake was never served. I believe it was not until I was about 12 or 13 and I had requested a “regular” chocolate cake for my birthday that a cake was actually made in our house. All I remember is cheesecake, cheesecake for birthdays, cheesecake for “welcoming home” parties, cheesecake for celebrating that relatives were visiting. Cheesecake, Cheesecake, Cheesecake! I ADORE cheesecake, I think it is one of the simplest things to bake. There are no long lists of “technical” challenges or techniques you must go through, you are not required to use more than one mixing bowl, and there is no “folding” or molding of anykind– you simple beat, beat, beat, until the cheesecake has been beaten into submission! If you have never attempted a dessert beyond chocolate chip cookies, I would say cheesecake would be the place to start. Forgiving and loving, it is as enjoyable to make as it is to eat!
- 1½ c crushed ginger snaps
- ½ c finely chopped pecans
- ½ c butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325° F. Combine ingredients until the butter starts to clump with the ginger snaps and pecans. If you like more crust, simple add more ginger snaps and pecans, and butter help it all clump together.
In a 9″ spring form pan*, mash the mixture against the bottom and sides creating an even layer. No part of the crust should be more than ½” thick. When crust has been pressed down and holds its form, place into oven for 10 minutes or until just toasted.
- 4 (8 oz. )cream cheeses
- 1 c sugar, divided
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 c canned pumpkin
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- a dash of ground cloves
Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Remove 1-1/2 cups batter. Set aside. Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into batter.
Spoon half the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of half the plain batter. Repeat layers; swirl with knife.
Bake one hour or until center is almost set.
*If you do not have a spring form pan, you can use a 13×9-inch pan. Decrease your cooking time to only 45 minutes.