swirled pumpkin chocolate cheesecake

Posted: November 30, 2014 in dessert
Tags: , , , ,

For some people, there’s nothing like scent that bring them back to a half-remembered past. For people who grew up with allergies like me, those memories come back through sound.

After dinner with friends last night, we sat around a television to hang out, and I put on a Muppet Christmas Carol on Netflix. I had meant for it to be background noise that would make the room feel more like Christmas, but found out that it was one of our friend’s favorite movies, and so it turned into the main event. A few minutes into watching it, I realized I had never seen it — I just thought I had because the opening sequence was the trailer preceding another Muppet movie my older sister bought for our baby sister on the first Christmas break that she returned from boarding school. As I watched this movie, a million feelings came back: being ten; my awe of the United States from my sisters’ stories, gifts, and pictures; watching my little sister grow up, feeding her solid food while she watched Gonzo; how special that Christmas felt because after my sister being away for a semester, I realized how precious our time together as a family was.  All this from watching the first five minutes of Rizzo and Gonzo talk and sing about Michael Caine in the late 19th century. Memory is a funny thing.

Tonight’s dessert: a mix of the recent past (Thanksgiving) and present (Christmas):  swirled pumpkin chocolate cheesecake




  • 1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
  • crushed graham crackers (half a box)


  • two packages (or one pound) of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup of sugar (half white, half brown)
  • three eggs
  • one cup of pumpkin puree
  • half tsp cinnamon
  • half tsp nutmeg
  • one tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz chocolate, melted in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water

To make the crust, crush half a box of graham crackers (two packages from the Nabisco brand) in a food processor, then add the melted butter and process until the powdery grahams turn into a wet sand. Pour the wet sand into a spring form pan that’s been greased and press with your fingers all around to create a  nice brown floor. Stick this in the freezer for ten minutes.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend the softened cream cheese in a stand mixer until smooth, then add the sugar and blend. Once mixed thoroughly, add the rest of the ingredients, except the melted chocolate. Pour one cup of this mixture to the melted chocolate, and then the rest into the now slightly frozen spring form pan. Then, add two teaspoonful dollops of the melted chocolate into the spring form, too, as though making polka dots. To make a marbled design, run a toothpick or knife through the polka dots, and create a letter L, making sure not to run the knife too deeply as to upset the graham cracker bottom. Once you’ve created your design, stick the pan in the oven for one hour. Then, remove and cool for 15 minutes before serving.


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