Sunday, November 15, 2015

Boozy Cheesecake? Don't Mind If I Do.

I have been a really bad basic white girl this fall. Until Friday, I had yet to add pumpkin spice to a single thing, and we're just blowing through November! I finally rectified the situation, so if I had Uggs and wore leggings as pants, I could be back in the basic club in no time. Let me preface this week's creation by divulging a secret: I hate pumpkin pie. The texture is...soupy, and the flavor is lacking in the required level of pie sweetness (this is a real thing). I'm told it is made more palatable with the addition of Cool Whip. However, I've seen my mom and sister put so much Cool Whip on top of their pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving that I'm not entirely certain they aren't just eating a plate full of whipped can the pie really be that good? I don't think so. And you know what else is missing from pumpkin pie? Booze. No one can be in a house full of extended family without a little buzz in their back pocket in case of awkward family emergencies. I desperately wanted to fix this, so I thought about what was pie adjacent but still tasted good with pumpkin flavor. The answer: pumpkin cheesecake. Where does the alcohol come in, you ask? Into my mouth, mostly. But in all seriousness, it is super easy to make whipped cream from scratch and add rum or any other preferred spirits into it. So when someone asks you if you have a little Captain in you, your answer can be an emphatic and slightly slurred, "Yarr."
Getting drunk off pie, what will she think of next?
What's actually pretty criminal is the fact that this cheesecake requires no baking and like five ingredients to put together, but it tastes like something you slaved away on for days. And unlike a soupy, bland pumpkin pie, this is light and airy with full flavor and decadence. And rum. Did I mention the rum? I swear I haven't had any today, I'm just really enthusiastic over the fact that I found a way to make whipped cream taste even better. It was a Holy Grail baking situation, so I'm going to go on about it for days because my ego is as inflated as the balloons at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Move over Snoopy, the Kateface balloon is taking center stage this year.
Crust from scratch is stress relief time.
You could make things even easier by using a premade crust, but I did some tweaking and came up with a crust that is absolutely basic white girl approved. You need:
  • 12 whole graham crackers
  • 6 TBS of melted butter
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional: dash of pumpkin spice, chopped nuts, gingersnaps in place of graham crackers
This pie crust recipe can be pretty flexible depending on your needs, just be sure the cinnamon and sugar blend are present because they take things from boring to Autumn-in-your-mouth. Since fall is the undisputed champion of seasons, you just need to give in and let this crust happen. 
I want to frame this picture and reference it when my OCD tendencies flare up because hot damn is that a perfect crust.
Start by crushing the graham crackers in a baggy with a rolling pin. Or if you like wasting 30 bucks, buy and use a food processor. But nothing beats (literally) smashing away with the pin while you vent a day or two's worth of frustration out on some innocent graham crackers. Once the crackers are nice and fine, dump into a bowl with the butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Blend well and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Place your crust into the freezer while you make your filling so it can firm up.
I'm not sure if you can handle how complicated things are about to get...
Like I said, five ingredients to greatness!
  • 8 oz. of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup of pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 oz. room temp Cool Whip
You could honestly take the booze level up a notch and make your own rum-laced whipped cream for the cheesecake filling. I thought about it, but since I was already making a few tweaks from a Kraft recipe, I opted for regular Cool Whip to ensure I wasn't ruining my dessert (the shame spiral that would've occurred after that would've been depressing). Next time I will most certainly make rum whipped cream for this though.
I enjoyed licking the spatula clean.
Are you sure you're ready for this? I don't want you to get lost in the complexity of this recipe. I mean, you have to dump all five ingredients into a mixing bowl and blend for about three minutes. Then you have to turn your filling out into your pie crust. That's hard work, y'all...
I could've died.

Whew. I'll allow you a moment to catch your breath after all that hard work. Place your cheesecake into the fridge for 4 hours to set, or if you're impatient and want to try out whipped cream booze recipes, the freezer for 1 1/2 hours. Guess which route I took? Freezer for life, people.
If you're not getting your rum from Barbados, you're doing it wrong.
To make your own whipped cream, place a stainless steel mixing bowl into the freezer for about 20 minutes. You want things COLD. Cold like my heart kind of cold. Pour one cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 TBS of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of rum into the mixing bowl. Blend on HIGH. High like my mixer might break kind of high. Do this for one minute, and you have whipped cream! I ended up doubling this recipe so I could pipe decorations on my cheesecake and have rum whipped cream leftover to eat with some fruit (I know, I'm brilliant, AND I take the food pyramid seriously).
Your drooling is a perfectly acceptable reaction to this photo. This, my dear readers, is food porn.
You can top your cheesecake with the rum whipped cream any way you like. I used a 1M tip on a piping bag and just did little circular mounds. I finished up by dusting the cheesecake with pumpkin pie spice. This was a decision that was met with uproarious applause by my taste buds. The hardest part about making this cheesecake was not eating it all while waiting for my husband to come home from work. When we served up a slice that evening, I topped it with caramel sauce.
Again, my taste buds were quite satisfied with my culinary actions.
This cheesecake will change your Thanksgiving dessert menu. There is simply no time for pumpkin pie when pumpkin cheesecake is a thing that exists and wants you to experience pumpkin in the way it was meant to be experienced: topped with plenty of rum and caramel. Let's face it, pumpkin is like the nerdy little glasses-wearing girl that when dolled up with the proper accessories, turns into Laney Boggs from She's All That. Now that I've managed to compare a cheesecake to a cheesy late 90s film, I feel like my work here is done. Make the cheesecake. Embrace the cheesecake. Let the cheesecake take your Thanksgiving dessert table from sad and soupy to flavorful and rum-y. Because when Aunt Sally starts prying into your private life, you can shove a spoonful of pumpkin cheesecake into your mouth to prevent your ability to talk (table manners, y'all) while also getting a good buzz from the rum whipped cream to numb the annoyance. I just saved Thanksgiving!!! 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!

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