Everything’s Better with Real Whipped Cream

So, after 19 years in the South, I finally ate at Waffle House.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s Thanksgiving, aka National Mashed Potato Day, and I want to talk about Waffle House? Not really. It was more a confessional thing. Really good waffles though.

We just put the turkey in the oven. I’m excited and terrified because I feel like this year’s cooking isn’t doing what I wanted. Nothing like potentially poisoning your extended family with cheesecake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream Bourbon topping from Gourmet. It’s an awesome cheesecake, and a great substitution if you’ve hit the point where making another pumpkin pie is going to get you institutionalized.

Normally the cream cheese works with me and everything turns out nicely, with a few small cracks on the top that are easily covered by the sour cream bourbon (or in this case Glenlivet) topping. Not so. Yesterday, I got the San Andreas Fault going through the cheesecake. Did I stop and think, hmmm, how can I fix this? Did I read the recipe as I was making the cheesecake?

No, not so much.

I just put the topping on the cheesecake and kept going. And here’s what it ended up looking like:

photo of pumpkin cheesecake
Luckily, a spoon smooths this topping and makes it look better than this.

Do not start with me. Had I thought about it, I would have put a flag over the fault line because clearly that spot will have more alcohol in it. But here’s the thing about cheesecake:

It’s really hard to tell when it’s done. It jiggles. And it’s cracked, and it’s just odd looking. And it has to sort of set up in the refrigerator after you bake it. So it doesn’t look right when it comes out of the oven. It’s a total crap shoot.

So crap shoot dessert, although the French Apple Pie — do ┬ánot start with me about the French on Thanksgiving; everything is better with streusel topping — looks fantastic.

French Apple pie photo
No promises about the turkey or the cheesecake, but we can all feed off the French Apple pie

But we got a surprise phone call and suddenly the turkey cook was tied up, and if you’ve cooked a turkey, you know it has to get in the oven on time if you want to eat before Saturday. So suddenly, I’m working on the turkey. Which was so not what I had planned. Sweet potato casserole, yes. Pie, yes. Main part of the meal that everyone looks at when I’m already nervous about the damned cheesecake? No.

So, a little nervous. And if this works, I will be telling everyone at dinner what I’m thankful for: not killing them with poultry and dairy products.

And pie with real whipped cream. Because everything’s better with whipped cream. As long as it’s homemade.