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It rained last week for the first time this season.  When it rains in LA we become crazy drivers.  The entire city shuts down.  75% of our office was late to work.  Did I mention that it rained?

Rain in LA also marks the beginning of fall. It’s been getting chilly since October 1st, but on a rainy day the heavy clouds will guarantee that it stays cold.  While many people mark the changing of the seasons by brisk mornings, dying leaves, and hot apple cider, we mark the change of the season by the temperature.  That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy pumpkin pies and spiced cider, but the temperature is the one mark that we have to go by.

This fall weather is making me crave pumpkin. That and I have a dinner in two weeks that is short a few desserts. I am not one that celebrates the excuse to bake, eat, and drink pumpkin, but as it gets colder I will begin to crave the comfort foods of fall.

This cheesecake is special! It is the first cheesecake I have ever made, turned out fantastic, and I get to make it again in two weeks for my restaurant night.

I am hosting a restaurant night to celebrate the birthday of my blog; and all together a good excuse to share my food with friends.  My back patio will transform into a “restaurant” with lights, candles, a fire, and music and I’ll be serving up a selection of food I’ve made for my blog.  All with some help of course.

The recipe is from Food & Wine and I knew it had to be good because for one they produce beautiful cookbooks and for two it takes 5+ hours to bake.  I looked for recipes that took less time, but this one stood out because of the ease, simple ingredients, and caramel pecan topping.  This is also one of the few recipes I saw that has you dry out the pumpkin.  This is somewhat of a mystery to me, but the cheesecake was so good that I will follow it every time!

Check out the Pumpkin Cheesecake and Caramel Pecan Topping recipe and if you are like me and are a visual learner, keep on reading for some tips I learned in the process.

I have observed that a few easy but important tips in baking make all the difference.

  1. Bring all the ingredients to room temperature before mixing,
  2. Beat your butter (cream cheese in this case) until it is creamy but don’t over overbeat the batter.
  3. Scrape down the bowl to avoid lumps.
  4. With the addition of each ingredient, beat the mixture while scraping the bowl until fully combined and creamy.
  5. Don’t skimp on any ingredient unless you know the chemistry of what it does and what to substitute it with.
  6. And lastly, never underestimate the beauty and wonder of a baked dessert.

And now dig into that beautiful cheesecake and don’t forget to share!