Happy Birthday Mike ~ Apricot Cheesecake

My son, my one and only child, was born today … 20 years ago.  How did 20 years go by so fast?

I won’t bore you too much about his birth. Bottom line is that his heart stopped beating when I went into labor. The hospital staff rushed us into OR for a crash C-Section. The last thing I remember before they knocked me out is that my baby might have brain damage or be stillborn.

Thankfully, Mike was born healthy. I have a healthy, smart, funny young man on my hands. He’s in college, 3.86 GPA, with a major in Philosophy (pre-law).

My husband passed away in September 2007. I had to sell our house and move into an apartment. He didn’t miss a beat. Kept up his college classes, helped me during the process of selling our house, helped me move. He was still a kid, had just lost his father, had to move from the only home he had ever known. I am very proud of him.

Let’s talk about food, OK?

Some of my son’s favorite foods are: sushi, any kind of fish, asparagus, avocado sandwiches, pumpkin pie, chicken & dumplings. He is not a big fan of cake, and always wanted pumpkin pie for his birthday when he was little. Now that he’s all grown up :=) he prefers cheesecake. So, for Mike’s 20th birthday, I’m making Apricot Cheesecake.

I got this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens magazine years ago. A woman named Lori W. Thomas of Martinsville, Indiana, won $400 for her recipe in a contest sponsored by the magazine. It is fabulous!

APRICOT CHEESECAKE:
2 cups finely crushed butter cookies (about 30 cookies)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 15-oz. can unpeeled apricot halves
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 10-oz. jar low-calorie apricot spread
1/4 cup apricot nectar

Preheat oven to 325. For crust, in a medium bowl combine crushed butter cookies and melted butter. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

For filling, drain apricot halves, reserving 3 Tbs. syrup. Coarsely chop apricots; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, the reserved syrup, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Add eggs all at once, beating on low speed just until combined. Stir in chopped apricots. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place on a shallow baking pan in oven. Bake about 50 minutes or until center appears nearly set when cheesecake is gently shaken. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen crust from sides of pan and cool cheesecake 30 minutes more. Remove the sides of the pan; cool cheesecake completely.

For glaze, in a small saucepan melt apricot spread over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in the apricot nectar. Spread over cheesecake. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours before serving.

~Being the chocoholic that I am, sometimes I drizzle a little melted chocolate over my slice of cheesecake (if I have chocolate on hand).~

ENJOY!

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