Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Just in time for Thanksgiving!

After years of trying Pumpkin cheesecake recipes, I found this one and with a few changes came up with what I think is the best recipe out there.

Depending on the oven and the temperature of the ingredients, the cheesecake may bake about 15 minutes faster or slower than the instructions indicate; it is therefore best to check the cake 1 1/4 hours into baking. Although the cheesecake can be made up to three days in advance, the crust will begin to lose its crispness after only one day. To make slicing the cheesecake easy and neat, use a knife with a narrow blade, such as a carving knife; between cuts, dip the blade into a pitcher of hot water and wipe it clean with paper towels.
Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 12 to 16

ounces graham crackers(5 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
tablespoons granulated sugar 
ounces pecans ,chopped (about 1/2 cup)
teaspoon ground ginger 
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground cloves 
tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/3
cups granulated sugar 
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground ginger 
teaspoon ground cloves 
teaspoon ground nutmeg 
teaspoon allspice 
teaspoon salt
can pumpkin (15 ounces)
1 1/2
pounds cream cheese, 3-8oz packages , cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs that have been brought to room temperature
cup heavy cream 

Before beginning crust, dry your pumpkin- This makes the filling thicker and creamier:
  • To dry your canned pumpkin: Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet or into an extra mixing bowl; discard towel.
1. FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, nuts, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
  • At this point, bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot for the Bain Marie. A bain-marie is the French term for a water bath.
2. FOR THE FILLING:  Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside.

3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add your dried, canned pumpkin and vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and bourbon and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.

4. Set springform pan with cooled crust on an 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan.This is to keep the water out of the springform pan while the cheesecake bakes.

Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough of your boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan.

Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • For baking at altitude. Subtract 2 degrees for each 1000 feet of altitude. For Denver, the center of the cake should register 140 degrees.
Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

5. TO SERVE: Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Old Fashioned Cherry Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1 /4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1 egg beaten
2 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart or pie cherries (NOT cherry pie filling) lightly drained (reserve 1 cup juice)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnut, pecans, or hazelnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
In a medium bowl, combine butter or margarine, egg, sour cherries, almond extract, and nuts: add to flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
Bake, uncovered, in an ungreased 9-inch square pan for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cut into squares.
Serve with hot Cherry Sauce and whipped cream or ice cream.
Makes 8 servings.

Cherry Sauce:
1 cup cherry juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cherry juice, cornstarch, sugar, almond extract, and butter or margarine; cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Muffins & Quick Breads

Crunchy Banana Muffins with Coconut
Lemon Coconut Bread


Easy All Butter Pie Crust- Food Processor

Bourbon Sauce for Pies 

Cranberry Tart 

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie


Click on the name of the cookie to go to it's recipe! 
Baby Ruth Bars- No Bake
Brown Sugar Cookies
Butterscotch Brownies/ Blondies 
Candy Cane Cookies 
Candy Cane Kiss Cookies with a Chocolate Star
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies 
Coconut Cookies- Chewy 
Double Chocolate Biscotti
Ginger Biscotti
Island Cookies 
Lemon Sugar Cookies 
Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies 
Scandinavian Almond Bars
S'more Bars- No Bake 
Toffee Brownie Squares


Pumpkin Spiced Whoopie Pies with Maple Mascarpone Filling


Homemade Marshmallows & Cocoa Mix


Cherry Cake
Cranberry Coffee Cake 
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Spiced Whoopie Pies with Maple Mascarpone Filling
Shortcake for Berries & Fruit

Holiday Baking

Almond Lace Cookies
Apple Rosemary Blue Cheese Bites
Candy Cane Cookies 
Candy Cane Kiss Blossoms with a Chocolate Star
Chocolate Peppermint Bars 
Cranberry Tart
Holiday Biscotti
Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Perfect Pie Crust 
Scandinavian Almond Bars
Snowballs/ Mexican Wedding Cookies
Swedish Spritz Cookies
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