Recipe Cook-Off: Amateurs Vs. Pros



Sharyn Jackson is a full-time editor and part-time home pastry chef, who wholeheartedly ascribes to the life theory that over-the-top is the best kind of normal. Her rich, decadent cheesecake is really bad for you, but really good. She once nearly burnt her Jersey City, NJ house down making it, but it was worth it.



6 oz. cinnamon graham cracker crumbs

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spices

Pinch of salt

1/2 stick of butter, melted


4 packets (8 oz. each) cream cheese (room temperature)

1 c. sour cream (room temperature)

1 c. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 eggs

2 tbsp. flour

1/4 c. whole milk


1 can pumpkin

1 c. sour cream

2 tbsp. sugar

Pinch pumpkin pie spices

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


Grease a 10-in. spring form pan. Mix all the ingredients for the crust together with a fork, then press mixture into the pan.

Using a hand mixer, blend sour cream and cream cheese with sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time until blended. Add the flour and the milk. Pour mixture into the crust.

Bake for 60 min. at 325˚F, on the middle rack. (In case you have a flimsy spring form, make sure you put a pan on the bottom rack to collect dripping butter from the crust and avoid oven fires!) After baking, do not move the cake. Turn off the oven and open the door, leaving the cheesecake in the oven to cool for 20 min.

Remove cake from oven and return oven to 325˚F. Whisk the topping ingredients together. Coat the top of the cheesecake with the pumpkin mixture. Bake for 5 min. Remove, and chill cake 4 hours.

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