Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.
Robert Mondavi

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Recipe and Wine Pairing - Grandma's Cheesecake

Thanksgiving at my Granparents' house is always the meal of the year. Robert and Dolores peck both come from households that are deeply rooted in ethnic culinary traditions that have been passed down through the years. I think all of us grand kids have a certain affinity for Wiener schnitzel, spatzle, paprikash, nut horns and all the other Central and Eastern European delicacies that we have experienced through the years.

With this in mind, you would probably expect the dessert that I selected to feature to be a Bohemian or Bavarian specialty. Instead, I have selected the dessert that has been perfect for the entirety of my life and one that is quintessential Americana, Grandma's Cheesecake. There is nothing elaborate, no insane preparation, just some Philadelphia and a whole lot of love!

Grandma's Cheesecake

(Serves 8-12)

Ingredients for Crust:

1 sleeve/package Graham crackers (9 crackers)

1 stick of butter (1/4 lb.)

Ingredients for Cheesecake:

3 8 oz. pkgs Philadelphia Cream Cheese (Do not use fat free)

5 Eggs

1 cup Sugar

1 1/2 tbsp. Vanilla

Ingredients for Topping:

1 Pt. Sour Cream (Do not use fat free)

6 tbsp. Sugar

1 tbsp. Vanilla

Step 1

Use a 9 X 13" pan (glass or metal)

Finely crush 1 package of graham crackers. Melt 1/4 lb butter and mix together with the graham crackers, pressing it in the bottom of pan and set aside.

Step 2

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

In a large mixing bowl add 3 room temperature pkgs. of cream cheese. Using a mixer at low speed, add one egg at a time until all 5 eggs are mixed with the cream cheese. Slowly, add 1 cup of sugar to the mixture. Add 1 1/2 tbsp. Vanilla. When mixture is complete, pour it into the pan with the graham cracker crust. Bake for 1 hour or until you can put a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Step 3

Remove from oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 pint of sour cream, 6 tbsp. of sugar and 1 tbsp. Vanilla. Spread this mixture over the cheesecake and return to oven for 10 more minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool 1 hour. Cover with Saran Wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate. For best results, refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Perfect Pairing

2005 Royal Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttanyos Red Label, Tokaji, Hungary - $37

This is a terrific pairing, because the cheesecake provides somewhat of a blank canvas to work with. The spice, apricot and honey in this wine will provide a wonderful compliment. You can also use other sweeter dessert wines (i.e. - Late Harvest Riesling, Muscatel or Vin Santo), but for my money, good Tokaji or Sauternes are the ultimate, and this is one of the best.

Thank you Grandma for sharing your wonderful recipe!


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