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On cheesecakes and Constitutions

David Ziemer

David Ziemer

Thanksgiving is this week, which means I’m being heavily badgered by folks who want me to make them pumpkin cheesecakes for the holiday, or at least give them my recipe.

I thought I’d just print it here instead.

But seeing as this is a trade journal for attorneys and judges, I can’t just print a cheesecake recipe in the place of my regular column, and expect the shareholders to consider it a legitimate use of space.

Unless … I call it a Constitution Cheesecake, and include a FAQ segment at the end. So, here goes.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Crumble one package of graham crackers and melt one stick of butter. Combine together in a bowl and spread evenly on the bottom of a springform pan, 8 or 9 inches in diameter.

Mix three packages of softened Philadelphia Cream CheeseTM with 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a mixing bowl.

Mix in six eggs.

Mix in half a 16 oz. can of pumpkin.

Mix in a dash of kosher salt and four times as much vanilla extract as you’ve ever seen in a cheesecake recipe before.

Pour into springform pan and bake for approximately two hours.

Chill in refrigerator overnight.


Alternative: You may substitute molasses for half a cup of the sugar, but I can’t tell you how much; I just wing it when I do that.


Q: Do I have to bake it for two hours? Why can’t I just cook it for one hour at 350 degrees, like every other cheesecake recipe calls for?

A: You can cook it at 350 degrees, but then the crust will be dry, just like the crust in every other cheesecake you’ve ever made.

Q: Do I have to use Philadelphia brand cream cheese? Other brands are cheaper.

A: No. You can use other brands, but this is a Constitution Cheesecake, and the Constitution was drafted in Philadelphia.

Q: Do I have to use six eggs? Most recipes only call for three.

A: Yes. If you’re not going to use six eggs, go use someone else’s recipe.

Q: What kind of music should I listen to while I make this Constitution Cheesecake?

A: Slayer. No other music is 100 percent guaranteed to drive away the nanny statists and food police who will object that there are too many eggs and too much sugar and salt in this recipe.

Q: As long as I have to open a whole can of pumpkin for this recipe, why can’t I use the whole can? Isn’t it wrong to waste food?

A: It is wrong to waste food. Nevertheless, “We must never forget that it is a Constitution [Cheesecake] we are expounding.” McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). We are not expounding a pumpkin pie that happens to have cream cheese in place of condensed milk. Either go find something else to do with your half a can of pumpkin, or just make two Constitution Cheesecakes.

Q: Why do I have to use four times as much vanilla extract as every other recipe I’ve ever used?

A: Because every recipe is improved by quadrupling the prescribed amount of vanilla. You can use half a bottle if you want, and it won’t hurt you.

Q: Why do I have to use kosher salt? Why can’t I use regular iodized salt?

A: How should I know? Go ask Martha Stewart, whose conviction for obstruction of justice, by the way, was a travesty, a sham, and a mockery of justice. And while you’re at it, write a letter asking President Obama to give her a pardon, too.

Q: I’m a sole practitioner, and can’t eat the whole Constitution Cheesecake by myself. What should I do?

A: Just bring it in to your nearest tavern and share. Anyone who travels with this Constitution Cheesecake will always find friends of the unanimous opinion that it is the best in the world.

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