I have blogged before about the perils of living somewhere where one cannot get ones hands on canned Pumpkin. I was scolded then, and expect to be scolded again, for not using fresh pumpkin. We do use fresh pumpkin. Hell, we grow our own and eat it on a regular basis during the winter. But sometimes, if a girl is in a hurry, it is handy to have a few cans of pumpkin on hand so a mother could whip up a batch of Pumpkin Muffins or bang out a Pumpkin Pie or better still bake off a Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Of course, when I elude to the fact that I might be baking any of the above items, you should all know by now that indeed, I am not. I am just planting the seed with the hopes that the Chef will take the hint, bake something beautiful and assume all along it was his bright idea. Even the children have mastered this skill.
Let’s face it, how could he refuse this little munchkin?
Earlier this week I was looking at our friends website and It made me feel a bit homesick for my favourite time of year in the US, Autumn. Of course, after spending a huge chunk of my life living in the states, there will always be things that I miss. Our friends first of course, Starbucks and its free wi-fi (I know, so shallow) and seasonal stuff like pumpkin spiced lattes and gingerbread biscotti.
This year, the kids have a lot of pumpkins and squash to choose from and they certainly come in handy as props when helping decorate around the house. The pumpkins come in handy, not the kids! Although we plan on eating all of them over the course of the next few months, they are hardy and will hold up well if left sitting pretty at the front door, waiting to greet any expected or unexpected visitors.
If you want to make a Pumpkin Pie or Pumpkin Cheesecake (and I highly recommend you do) first you must find the right pumpkin (small) and then cook it! You will need a good sharp knife.
Slice off the top, scoop out the middle and slice it into quarters. Use the smaller pumpkins if you want to make a pie or cheesecake. They retain less water and will cook faster. We always roast ours with butter and maple syrup. After it has cooked in the oven (1 hour on medium heat) you can removed the skin, it will fall right off, and using a stick blender whiz it up into a nice lump free consistency. It should look and kinda smell like baby food.
Of course, I prefer to cook them whole and even stuffed. In the photo below, we rubbed this pumpkin down with butter, salt and pepper and then loaded it with onions, garlic, sausage and bacon and a few chili peppers. It was most memorable and the kids tore it to shreds in seconds. Bacon does this to our family. Addicts.com – all of us.
- FOR THE CHEESECAKE
- 5 packages of cream cheese (200 g or 7-ounce)
- 90 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar
- 425 g (or 1.5 cups) of canned or fresh pumpkin
- 5 lovely large eggs (we used duck eggs)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- AND FOR THE CRUST
- 1 packet of gingernut biscuits
- 6 tablespoons of butter (melted and cool)
- Make the crust first:
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 C (350 F). Butter the sides and bottom of your Cheesecake pan. We used a 9'' springform pan. Place a round piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and butter the parchment too. Now, stop worrying about all the excessive butter.
- Using your food processor, grind up the entire packet of gingernut biscuits. Or, use a baseball bat and a ziplock bag. It all depends on your agression level for the day.
- Once the biscuits have been ground up in to a nice finely ground pulp stir in the melted butter until it is well combined. Press the crumbs onto the bottom of the pan and about an inch and a half up the sides too.
- Bake for fifteen minutes then allow to cool on a rack. Once it has cooled, place a very large sheet of HEAVY aluminium foil underneath the cheesecake pan and wrap the bottom and sides, because the cheesecake is going to be baked in a water bath soon.
- FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING
- Lower the oven temperature to 160 C (325 F).
- Using your stand mixer and the paddle attachment (not the whisk) beat the cream cheese and sugar at a meduim speed until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add vanilla, pumpkin puree, salt and spices and beat at low speed until smooth.
- Pour into the cooled crust.
- Place the foil wrapped pan into a large roasting pan and carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan around the wrapped springform pan. Do not splash the cheesecake - even if you are terribly distracted.
- Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for a good hour until the cake is puffy around the edges but still jiggly in the middle.
- Turn off the oven and open the door and let the cheesecake sit there for an hour.
- Remove the pan from the oven and remove it from the roasting pan.
- Allow it to cool on a wire rack.
- Chill overnight. When ready to serve run a butter knife (dipped in boiling water) around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it up from the springform pan.
- Serve with a small layer of sour cream icing. (Sour cream mixed with a few spoonfuls of icing sugar.
This was our first time making (and baking) a cheesecake. The Chef used to make one when he worked at a place called Parkers Blue Ash Grill, in Blue Ash, Ohio, but one of his staff always actually ‘made’ it. He just ate it. Quality control, someones gotta do it.
I do not suffer from sweet tooth syndrome but really do love Pumpkin so this was a very nice treat. We made it and shared it with friends last weekend when we went to visit a pig farm – and stories from that weekend will be shared on my next blog post.
Thanks for reading WiseWords!
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I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
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About the Chef
You can't find the Chef here.
You might as well just come visit.
He prefers face to face communication.
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