Reasons I love my Grandma:
* I never get tired of looking through her wedding album. Check out this cheeky shot of her and my grandpa as they left for their honeymoon:
* She has an impressive knowledge of stocks and sports.
* We have the same taste in movies: we prefer action thrillers to chick flicks, but can handle a romantic comedy once in a while if it’s really good or if Audrey Hepburn is involved.
* When we come to visit, whether it’s for an hour or a whole day, she always has crackers and cookies on the table (and if it’s a birthday, an emergency cake in the freezer).
* She keeps up with all my creative projects, both on and off the internet.
* One time, apropos of nothing, she stepped outside the house one unseasonably beautiful morning, stood on the doorstep, and said, “Good morning, world!”
* She is kind to animals, from her many former cats and dogs to the squirrels who eat at her bird feeder.
* She asks her hairdresser for copies of Teen Vogue, ELLE, and Seventeen, which she then passes on to me.
* She keeps me informed of recent princely scandals.
* She (and my grandpa) spent six years housing my brother and I when we decided to go to a private high school that was far from home. During that time, she drove us to school and picked us up through icy mornings, late afternoons, play rehearsals, cross country meets, and more. She always had dinner and breakfast ready, let me try on her makeup during my more “experimental” phases, made an effort to keep up with the many entanglements of our academic pursuits and social lives, and even started a weekly ritual of watching Supernatural with me on Thursdays.
* She is a kind, loving, and nurturing person with a heaping helping of braininess and spunk.
For her birthday, I made one of her favorite desserts — cheesecake — and incorporated fresh, seasonal fruit and white chocolate (which toned down some of the cheesecake’s typical sourness). I don’t know where I originally found the recipe, because it came from a hand-written recipe book I’ve been keeping for ages, but it is not my own.
Remember to start making this recipe the night before you plan on serving it, because the cheesecake needs to chill overnight in order to set!
For the crust:
– 2 cups crushed graham crackers (about 2 sleeves whole graham crackers)
– 1 cup slivered almonds
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
– 1 lb white chocolate, chopped
– Four 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 4 eggs, beaten
– 2 egg yolks
– 1 Tbsp flour
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the blueberry topping:
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 tsp corn starch
– 1/4 cup water
– 1 pint blueberries
– 2 tsp lemon juice
Step 1: In a food processor, blend together graham crackers, almonds, and sugar, until they achieve the consistency of coarse sand.
Step 2: Pour in melted butter, and pulse until the mixture starts to stick together.
Step 3: Press into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan.
Step 4: Melt white chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 5: In a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Slowly beat in eggs and egg yolks. Then beat in the flour and vanilla. Witha rubber spatula, slowly mix in the white chocolate until completely combined.
Step 6: Pour on top of the prepared crust. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Keep the cake in the pan, cover loosely with saran wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
[To keep the cake from cracking: When you turn off the oven, crack open the oven door an inch, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven]
Step 7: To make the topping, combine sugar, corn starch, water, and blueberries in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice and allow to cool.
Step 8: When the topping reaches room temperature, remove the chilled cheesecake from the pan and pour on the blueberries.