Here it is, the night before Thanksgiving. And I've just finished the last touches on my signature Thanksgiving dessert, "Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars" - which is heretofore known as. . . .
"Kinda-Prize-Winning Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake 'Pie'"
(You know there's a back story here, don't you?)
Our friends, the Bailey's, have The Social Event of the season - a good old fashioned Barn Party, complete with square dancing, a pig roast, and. . . . a Pie Contest.
So of course, never one to shy away from a competition, I whip up this recipe - in a pie pan, naturally - and submit it. AFTER bragging on facebook that I would - um - soundly trounce a certain friend of mine.
|The girls ready for some Barn Party Fun!|
I didn't even place.
Oh, the humiliation.
Never to be deterred, I decided I would enter the blasted recipe at every contest I encountered - and luckily for me, that contest was at our Family Life Campout, held the weekend before Halloween. I whipped up another scrumptious "pie", entered. . . .
AND WON FIRST PLACE! WOO HOO!!!
(Never mind that there were only 3 entries. Never mind that the other two entries were - ahem - made by girls under the age of 12. I won, I tell you! Victory! I will not be vanquished!!!)
And now, with that gripping back story out of the way . . .on to the recipe!
Step One: The crust
Crush one package of graham crackers - about 1.5 cups. Mix with 1/4 c. sugar and 1/3 c. melted butter. Spread in a greased 13x9 dish. (Or. . . . in a pie plate. If you're trying to win a pie contest.)
Step Two: The Filling
In a mixing bowl, combine 2 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened, with 1 3/4 c. sugar and mix well. Mix in 3 eggs, 1 cup pureed or canned pumpkin, 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and 1/4 tsp. salt. After mixing, set aside 1 1/4 c. of the mixture in a small bowl.
|Pay no attention to the can of pumpkin behind the curtain. Let's focus on the nice, fresh pumpkins on the counter, shall we?|
In a small saucepan, melt 6 oz. chocolate chips with 2 Tbl. butter.
Once melted, add the small bowl of pumpkin mixture to the chocolate. Add just a little at a time, I think it prevents the pumpkin-cheesecake mixture from curdling or something. I dunno. That's just how I do it.
|I did not have a photographer take this. I'm pouring with my left hand, taking the pix with my right. Be impressed.|
|Mmmm! Stir it up!|
Remove the chocolate layer from the oven.
Carefully pour the rest of the pumpkin mixture over the chocolate layer. Put it back in the oven (use your pot holders! I forgot once. . . OUCH!) for another 40-50 minutes, or until the edges puff up and the center is slightly set.
In the meantime, mix 1 1/4 c. sour cream and 1/4 c. sugar. When the dessert has slightly cooled, spread the sour cream mixture on top. I like to sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice or cocoa for presentation. And to win pie contests. Or at least - try to win.
It's pretty yummy, even if I don't say so myself.
And at least one pie contest judge thought so!
Thanks, Mike - your check is in the mail.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!