“The feelings of being loved and being listened to are so similar, most people can’t tell the difference.” David Augsburger
Before I say anything else here today, I have to say this: thank you. To every one of you who read the last two posts, who heard my heavy thoughts, who voiced your own perspectives on making friends and being real and people-pleasing, who listened, thank you.
I have so many things I want to say to you today, so many thoughts on intimacy and friendship and identity, but the truth is, part of learning to love is learning to listen, really listen, and so right now, listening is the thing I most want to do.
So today, I bring three simple things: a Nashville announcement; a list of recent inspirations (i.e., places where I’ve been listening lately, where my soul’s been stirred); and, a recipe, for foolproof homemade cheesecake with pecan crust.
I hope you’ll enjoy them, too, and know, I’m sending them with a heart full of gratitude.
Hey, Nashville: So tonight, Tim and I are headed to Music City’s annual Generous Helpings event, put on by Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee. Held at the Nashville Farmers Market building downtown, it will feature small plates from over 30 of the city’s best restaurants and eateries, with all proceeds going to benefit a great cause: Second Harvest.
And without further ado, the cheesecake:
Foolproof Homemade Cheesecake with Pecan Crust
Makes one nine-inch-round cheesecake
This cheesecake was something. Looks-wise—virtually flawless, no cracks, no imperfections. As for tastes, every person who tried it raved. I can even tell you, without embarrassment, that I, a lifelong cheesecake-hater, ate two pieces at one sitting. I know. Try to make it a night ahead of time, if at all possible, so you can let it sit, cooled, still in the springform pan overnight in the fridge.
3/4 cup whole-grain spelt flour
1/4 cup Sucanat
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (optional)
6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed (no substitutes)
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
40 ounces organic cream cheese, softened (i.e., five 8-ounce packages)
1 3/4 cups Sucanat
3 tablespoons whole-grain spelt flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Optional: chocolate to melt for topping
1. MAKE THE CRUST
Grease a 10-inch springform pan. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pecans and lemon peel, and cut in the cubed butter until crumbly. Combine egg yolk and vanilla; add this to the flour mixture. Press mixture onto the bottom of greased springfrom pan. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Set aside.
2. PREPARE THE OVEN
The best part of this cheesecake recipe, in my opinion, is that you don’t have to bake it in a water bath. Instead, fill a 13″ x 9″ by 2″ baking dish with 8 cups of water, and place this on the lowest oven rack. Reduce the oven’s heat to 325 degrees F.
3. MAKE THE FILLING
In a mixing bowl, beat the 40 ounces of cream cheese until smooth. Next, gradually beat in sugar. Add the flour, vanilla and salt. Combine eggs and egg yolks; add them to the cream cheese mixture just until combined. Beat in heavy cream just until combined. Pour this filling over the baked crust in the springform pan.
4. BAKE THE CHEESECAKE
Bake cheesecake on middle rack at 325 degrees F for about an hour, or until the center is almost set (slightly move the pan and see if the middle moves much; it should just slightly slightly move). Leave cheesecake and water in oven, but turn the oven off and open the door. Cool like this for another 10 minutes. Then remove cheesecake from oven, carefully run a knife around the edges to loosen it from the pan and, leaving it in the pan, set it somewhere to cool about an hour or so longer. Can be refrigerated overnight still in pan (this is best). Remove sides of pan.
Optional extra step: Melt chocolate in a double boiler until drizzling consistency and drizzle over top of cheesecake.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.