California-Style Pumpkin Cheesecake with Vanilla Riesling Poached Pears

by Jenn on November 28, 2010

in Desserts,Gluten Free


I am thankful for the sunrise.

I am thankful for the six hour time change, that allowed my body to wake up at 4 30 am, ensuring that I would not miss such a miraculous sight each morning.

I am thankful for color.  I love watching the entire sky go from the blue of night to purples, pinks and reds, then to finally watch the sun crest over the horizon, the crepuscular rays lighting the sky before the sun ever makes an appearance, and then dancing amongst the low lying clouds…

PAG_0498And7more_tonemapped2(forgive the lack of processing on this hdr yet, but the scene was too pretty not to share!)

Greeting the sun every morning is a meditative experience.  In our rented house full of 15 bubbly and boisterous personalities for the week, mornings were an unlikely serene and calm.  The still-cool breezes blew across the sands and rustled the palm trees providing lift for the gulls to float effortlessly through the air, while the only sounds of modern life inside were the gurgling of the coffee pot.  Slowly, one by one, folks would find their way outside to gaze on that morning’s light show.

But while I am a sucker for beautiful scenery and admiring nature’s glory, I am most thankful for the opportunity to be able to share such a holiday with friends and family.  Growing up in New England, the story of the first Thanksgiving is one told and retold each year.  It’s not just a story of facing the sheer adversity of surviving a cold harsh Winter with next to no supplies.  It’s a story of friendship and peace, for it was only through creating friendships with the native peoples of the area that those first settlers were able to establish a peaceful cultural exchange that allowed them to make a new home for themselves.  I’m not saying that the rest of early U.S. history is so bright and rosy (because it’s not), but at least the version I was taught growing up was that working together and forming meaningful relationships was the only way they could have survived.  Thanksgiving was not only about being able to survive the long Winter, but also about making friends and sharing with each other.

Whether or not that version is historically accurate, it’s the part of Thanksgiving that I think is most important to embody in a holiday meal.  Many people might see a week with 15 of their in-laws as a cruel form of torture, but my husband’s family has completely adopted me as one of their own.  It was a week filled with fun memories, great food, silly stories, and beautiful sunrises.

I’m thankful for all of it.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake, California Style

In the spirit of sharing, I want to share this dessert that I made for everyone with you.  A take on my mother’s famous California-style cheesecake, with a bit of an Autumn flair.  There wasn’t any left the next day, so I think it was a pretty successful dessert.  I hope you enjoy it as well, whether the snow is blustering about in the cold, or you are on a sunny beach greeting the Atlantic sunrise as I did.

Also linked to: Gluten Free Wednesdays and Friday Foodie Fix