In "The Tower," part five of "The Violet Crown: (How to Be Super, Book 1)" Dante meets several members and new inductees of The Violet Crown, and starts to wonder if he really is going to become a super hero.
To give the inductees a small sample of what they're in for, the older Violet Crown members each do a little demonstration of their powers. I don't know about you all, but I instantly wanted Mona's super power — the ability to give people the exact food they need to feel nourished.
While Dante gets what has to be the world's best carrot, his new friend Manny's snack made my mouth water — a sopapilla cheesecake bar, just like Manny's grandma would make.
Making cheesecake is sort of like a super power in itself, really. Starting with the ingredients at room temperature. Carefully placing it into a water bath to bake. Having patience enough to let it cool properly — an hour in the oven with the heat turned off, then into the fridge to firm up — when it's ever-so-tempting to rush. But if you proceed through the steps correctly, in the end you'll have a dessert that will make everyone that eats it feel nourished and nurtured and, indeed, a little bit super.
While this recipe is for a deep, New York style cheesecake — rather than Manny's grandmother's bars — the honey, warm spices, and strip of crisps tortilla are a nod to a classic sopapilla. Give it a try and make Mona proud!
For the cheesecake
About 15 graham crackers
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1½ cups honey
¾ cup milk
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup flour
For the topping 4 6-inch tortillas, cut into strips
4 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan, then cover it with parchment paper on the bottom and sides. Butter the parchment paper, as well. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil.
In the bowl of a food processor, crush the graham crackers together with 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and the melted butter. Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan.
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and honey until it's smooth. Mixing between each addition, add the milk, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, flour, and the remaining teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
Gently pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared spring form pan, and put the spring form pan into a water bath. (To do this, find a baking or roasting pan that your spring form pan will fit inside, and fill it about half full with water.) Put the whole contraption in the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until the edges are firm, but the center is still a little squidgy.
Bake the cheesecake for 15 minutes more, then let it sit in the oven — with the heat turned off — for another hour or so with the door cracked open. This cheesecake is best if you can make it a day ahead, but, regardless, be sure to chill it in a refrigerator for at least 5 hours before you try to cut into it.
Enjoy your new super hero power!
About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.