The holidays always conjure up sentimental feelings for me, from holidays spent on my grandparent’s farm. My grandma was a great cook. One of her specialties was huckleberry cheesecake. She planned for months to be able to provide huckleberry cheesecake for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
Every August, my mom, and Grandma Betty would load us up in a rickety old pickup truck and drive deep into the mountains. Every kid was given a repurposed cottage cheese container and strict instructions. There would be NO eating the berries, only picking. Of course, no kid could resist the sour, sweet allure of the jewel-toned berries for long. Eventually, a few would definitely find their way into your mouth. We would pick for hours and hope to come home with enough for a few batches of huckleberry pancakes and holiday desserts.
Later in life, when my grandma was too old and frail, to head into the mountains, I would pick her berries each summer. She stored them in the freezer until she was ready to use them. Until her death in 2008, I had never experienced a holiday without her huckleberry cheesecake. A sweet miracle occurred at her funeral luncheon. A sweet cousin produced two sheet pans of grandma Betty’s dessert. I was amazed that she still had berries in her freezer. It was such a kind gesture.
Later that year, I stood in my kitchen trying to decide what to make for Thanksgiving dinner. I realized that there would be no huckleberry cheesecake at the table, and my heart ached for my beloved grandmother. I had huckleberries in my freezer, but no recipe. I tore through stacks of family cookbooks to no avail. How could I have neglected this one thing? This super important thing? I sat on the floor in the kitchen and cried. I missed her so much and now I was letting her down, not carrying on a beloved tradition.
Suddenly, peace washed over me. She came into me with her sweet demeanor and reassurance. Why was I crying over a lost recipe? I am a medium after all! Grief does funny things. I grabbed a paper and pen, and I listened. She spelled the recipe out to me with love and kindness. I surprised my family with huckleberry cheesecake on Thanksgiving day. We ate it with tears of grief and joy combined.
These days, huckleberry cheesecake always graces the holiday table. I head into the mountains in August, pick as much as I can, and hide my prized berries away until winter, just like my Granda Betty taught me to do.
So now you might be wondering, what is this magical dessert? With her blessing, I am sharing the recipe with you. I know that many of you will not have access to huckleberries. Raspberries or blueberries are good as well.
Grandma Betty’s Famous Huckleberry Cheesecake
Crust- In a 9×13 pan, combine 2-3 cups of crushed graham crackers with a stick of melted butter and 2 T of sugar. Mix in until the butter and crumbs are incorporated and press into the bottom of the pan. Set aside. (My aunt Zelda used Nilla Wafer crumbs instead, and that is really good too)
Filling- Beat 2 bricks of softened cream cheese with ¼ cup of softened butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar until well incorporated and fluffy. Carefully fold in a small, thawed container of Cool Whip. Spread over crust and chill.
Topping- She always used raspberry Danish Dessert for this. It is a bit hard to find these days. It will usually be on the top shelf, about the pudding and jello in the grocery store. Amazon has it as well. Follow the pie glaze instructions and add 2 cups of huckleberries or other berries. Allow the topping to cool until it is room temperature. Spread over the filling and chill until ready to serve.
What special dishes are mandatory at your holiday table? I would love to hear about your family traditions.
Katie is an Animal Communicator, works with Attachment Removal, Psychic & Child Guidance. She can be found at 12listen.com