Pumpkin Cheesecake, Part II…the leftovers

As I mentioned, I had quite the large amount of leftover filling from the pumpkin pie cheesecake. Not wanting it to go to waste (I hate waste) I thought the perfect solution would be mini galettes, with cheesecake filling and sliced apples. Since Martha’s crust was amazing (see recipe below) I put together another batch, and split it into 6 portions. Each portion was then rolled out, dolloped with filling and topped with apples which I had mixed with a little sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon (think apple pie filling)

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contrary to what you may think, that is not a bite taken out of the bottom left tart.

I greased a cookie sheet and baked them for about 35 minutes on 400. Success. Opposed to the cheesecake where there was not enough crust IMO, in these galettes the crust was the superstar. Especially the bits where it was folded over creating a nice cookie-like texture. 

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Since I still had enough filling to fill a small swimming pool (swimming in cheesecake batter would be a little gross) I needed something else. Brownies perhaps? But no, since my crazy family does not like overly dense, chocolatey, sickly sweet things (I know, right?) A google search for cookies turned up cheesecake thumbprint cookies which I used as my inspiration. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies, modified from Bake or Break

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • scant 1/2 c sugar (between 1/3 and 1/2)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 T coco powder
  • 1 t cinnamon 

Method

  • preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  • add the salt, vanilla, and egg yolk and mix well to combine
  • add the flour, coco and cinnamon and mix to incorporate. the dough should come together. don’t mix too much.
  • roll into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  • roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls and use your finger (or another object) to poke indentations in each cookie ball

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  • bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, re-poke cookies and bake again for 8-10 minutes until just barely golden on the edges. 
  • remove from oven and let them cool (mostly completely cool)
  • use a teaspoon to fill the cookies with cheesecake filling and return to the oven for 10-12 minutes until the filling doesn’t jiggle and looks…done. sprinkle with cinnamon, if you so desire. 
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see the one thats gone missing? its in my belly.

After all of this baking, I still have more cheesecake filling. help?!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

When your sister requests a pumpkin cheesecake for her birthday, you are not NOT going to make a pumpkin cheesecake. Even if you don’t have the correct size springform pan. Even if you do not have a KitchenAid. If a pumpkin cheesecake in the middle of February seems wrong, I am here to tell you that there is no wrong time to make and eat a pumpkin cheesecake.

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pumpkin cheesecake and moscow mules

I had my friend Martha Stewart (just kidding, she is not actually my friend, I just used her recipe) help me out with this one, and of course there were a few tweaks made. After spending to much of my time at Whole Foods lamenting over the inability to buy individual sticks of butter, I was finally ready to start the process.

First, the crust. Not a press in crust made with store bought cookies, but a roll-out-yourself crust made from scratch and tasting faintly of sugar cookie. As in, I would make this crust into cookies and eat them.

Ingredients (for crust)

  • 6 T unsalted, softened, butter
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 t vanilla (or a dash more, if you are me)
  • 1 C flour (yes, I used white AP flour)
  • dash o’ salt

Method (the original recipe instructs one to use a stand mixer. I however mixed by hand, while standing)

  • cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  • mix in egg yolk and vanilla.
  • add flour and salt and mix until the dough just comes together. flatten into a disk and wrap in wax paper and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight (because of my time crunch I went for 30 minutes)

Part II.

When rolling out crust I like to do it in between 2 sheets of lightly floured wax paper. 1) it prevents a huge mess on the counter 2) it makes transferring it into a pan slightly easier.

  • lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 10″ springform pan. Preheat oven to 350.
  • in between 2 sheets of lightly floured wax paper, roll out the dough into a 10″ disk, about 1/4 of an inch thick. This should fit nicely into the bottom of your 10″ springform pan. Or, if you are me, it will fit more than nicely, with a little bit of extra going up the sides.
  • freeze the crust for 15 minutes. Then bake for 12-15 minutes until its “firm and pale golden”
  • remove from oven and let cool (completely is ideal, or nearly completely will work too)

Part III. The filling. Where the ancient electric hand held mixer begins to smoke and smell really funny.

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2 batters

Ingredients

  • 1 C pumpkin puree (I used the canned variety)
  • 1.5 t pumpkin pie spice (in retrospect, MORE)
  • 2.5 lbs cream cheese at room temp (or, if whole foods is out of CC, 2 lbs CC and .5 lb neufchatel cheese)
  • 1 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 3/4 C sour cream (any ideas for what to bake with leftover sour cream?)
  • 1.5 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 5 eggs

Method

  • preheat oven to 325. wrap the outside of your pan with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil. this is to prevent water from seeping into the pan when you bake your cheesecake in the water bath. the water bath adds moisture in the oven and helps prevent cracks. also grease the sides of your pan once more.
  • in a small-er bowl mix pumpkin puree with spices. set aside.
  • cream the cream cheese until light and fluffy. this need not be an arduous process if you have the proper mixing equipment.
  • gradually add the sugar and flour until smooth. add the sour cream, vanilla and salt mixing until incorporated. add the eggs one at a time until just combined. be careful not to over mix. over mixing once the eggs are added introduces more air into the batter, which makes it more crack-prone once baking.
  • stir 2 C of cream cheese mixture into the pumpkin mixture.
  • pour most of the cream cheese mixture into your cake pan. use a spoon to dollop the pumpkin mixture all over. top with a few spoons of cream cheese mixture. use a butter knife to swirl everything together in figure 8 patterns. if you over-swirl, you will end up mixing everything together. you really just want the top to look pretty.
  • put the cake in a large, shallow roasting pan, and fill with 2-ish inches of boiling water. bake for 55 minutes to an hour (or more if needed) until the cake is set with a slightly wobbly center. turn off the oven and crack the door, letting the cake sit for an hour. remove from oven (at this point i removed took the cake out of the water bath and removed the foil) and chill on the counter top for another hour. you will see the cake shrink slightly away from the sides of the pan. after the hour I removed the sides of the pan and put the cake in the refrigerator for 3 hours until we sang happy birthday.

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the cake was a great success. I loved the crust so much that I may use it for pie at some point, I wish it was thicker than 1/4 inch. The cake itself was great and not overly sweet, but I would have liked more of a pumpkin flavour (yes, flavour with a ‘u’). I think more spices and perhaps more pumpkin puree would have done a nice job. In fact, some cinnamon in the crust would have been great. I’ve also got some leftover filling since my pan was small than 10″, so perhaps mini cheesecakes are on the way.

Pumpkin Trail Mix Bread

still have trail mix left over from spring break, where I was responsible for feeding a group of 12 people for a week. Something had to be done with the trail mix, so why not bake it into pumpkin bread. Pumpkin bread is most definitely appropriate to eat during the month of May, despite what people tell you about its being an autumn food.

This recipe comes from here (hell yeah its vegan). But since I don’t have maple syrup (always extraordinarily expensive) I used agave. And since I didn’t have brown sugar, I used regular sugar combined with a tablespoon of molasses. Also, instead of boring old walnuts, I threw in said trail mix. The salty peanuts and chocolate chips worked very well in this bread. I think I am going to start making trail mix everything bread (banana, pumpkin, zucchini, etc). Its kind of like those “kitchen sink” cookies. But maybe not quite as kitchen sink-y. Anyways…

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Ingredients: (for 1 loaf)

  • 1 C AP flour
  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 T molasses
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 0.5 t baking powder
  • 0,5 t salt
  • 0.5 t nutmeg
  • 0.5 t cinnamon
  • 0.5 t allspice
  • 0.25 t cloves
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 0.5 C oil
  • 3 T agave
  • 3 T almond milk
  • a generous 0.5 C trail mix (consisting of almonds, peanuts, raisins, chocolate chips, and date pieces)

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Method

  • preheat the oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan
  • In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices
  • In a smaller bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: pumpkin, oil, agave, and almond milk
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine until moistened. Don’t over mix or overwork the dough; it will be thick and its OK if a few tufts of flour remain (just not huge clumps)
  • fold in the trail mix, again taking care not to over mix. Over working the dough causes to much gluten to form and will yield a chewy loaf instead of one with a delicate crumb
  • Pour the dough into the loaf pan and flatten out with a spoon. Lick the bowl clean
  • bake for 45-50 minutes until an object (knife of toothpick) inserted into the middle comes out clean
  • Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then loosen the loaf and finish cooling on a rack. Its yummy warm with melty chocolate chips, and is a great snack the next day too

New Fave Food. Kinda

DSCN3044This.

I have never been a fan of the boxed variety of mac and cheese, and I was not subject to it as a small child. Mac and cheese is not generally a food that my parents made or were drawn to, since they are not from here. I vaguely remember tasting the boxed variety at a friends house and thinking it was gross, and since then, I “didn’t like mac and cheese”. But no one doesn’t not like mac and cheese. Rather, one might not like the boxed variety.

My first positive mac and cheese memory was also at my friends house. I was a little suspicious and scared when she told me her mom was making mac and cheese for dinner and that it was “so good!”. I was expecting another meal from a box. But alas, I was very wrong. Her mom made baked mac and cheese, from scratch, with crunchy bread crumbs on top and ooey gooey creamy-ness inside. Since then, I liked mac and cheese, but only real mac and cheese.

Its not a food I make often because the ingredients are rather expensive and I wont buy a 2 lb block of generic cheese. When making it at home, I had been experimenting with vegan versions made of nutritional yeast, silken tofu, and an assortment of spices. I have had some successes. And now, living in the bay area, it is rather easy to obtain vegan mac and cheese that makes my heart sing. Both Homeroom and Souley Vegan have versions of the dish, and the Souley Vegan kind can also be found in the ready to go refrigerator at several grocery stores.

When I found this vegan boxed version on the shelf, my curiosity got the better of me. I had used “chreese” sauce before and I knew it tasted good. So why would this not taste good? Chrees-y sauce AND whole wheat macaroni? Sold! (they also have a gluten free version and a mac and shells kind which is not whole wheat)

Its really easy to make: Boil water, Add pasta, Drain. Make sauce: water +powder+1-3T oil. Combine. I generally add some extra nutritional yeast, and I only use 1T olive oil.

Last night I had the genius idea of making this mac and cheese and throwing in the extra cup of pumpkin puree I had in my refrigerator from earlier this week. I omitted the oil from the cheesy sauce and simply used water+powder+pumpkin+extra nutritional yeast. It was FANTASTIC. The pumpkin made the mac and cheese extraordinarily creamy, and it also had the added benefit of some extra nutrition. And, it turned a brilliant shade of orange, reminiscent of fake cheddar cheese. I like the whole wheat macaroni because of the slightly nutty taste that it adds, and the grainy texture. So, if you are on a quest for a great boxed version of mac and cheese, yet suspicious what exactly powdered cheese contains, I would highly recommend this vegan version (+pumpkin). None of the ingredients are strange, its mostly a combination of spices, nutritional yeast, and cornstarch.

things that are supposed to be eaten out of bowls always taste better when eaten out of cups.

things that are supposed to be eaten out of bowls always taste better when eaten out of cups.

 

 

pumpkin tempeh garbanzo cinnamon spiced curry

This is one of my all time favorite and very easy to make dishes. Something about the spicy-ness of curry with the warm sweetness of the cinnamon makes my taste buds sing. Its delicious when eaten warm, and also doubles as a wrap filling the following day when its cold and leftover. You can use any type of bean (black, pinto, kidney, etc) and you could also play around with the veggies you decide to use. Carrots work well, as does kale. Broccoli is one of my favorites to use. Mushrooms not so much in this dish because they  release a lot of water and the consistency gets funky the following day.

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If you have the time, you can cook your pumpkin from scratch. Just bake it in the oven and then puree it. Butternut squash works very well for this, as do yams/sweet potatoes. But, since I did not have time yesterday, I went for the canned variety of pumpkin.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ~2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, chopped into bite sized bits
  • 1 can beans of choice (garbanzo and black are my favorites)
  • 1 block tempeh
  • about 1 cup pureed pumpkin (canned) or pureed butternut squash or sweet potato
  • cinnamon, salt, and curry powder to taste
  • a touch of molasses (1 or 2 teaspoons) (optional, but tasty)
  • water as needed

Method

  • heat the oil in a pot. Brown the garlic and then add the onion. saute until the onion is starting to brown. 
  • add in the broccoli. you might have to add some water to the pot to prevent it from drying out. cover and cook, stirring occasionally. I like my broccoli on the mushy side, so I cooked mine for longer. If you are a fan of the crunchy broccoli, you clearly don’t need to cook it as long.
  • once the broccoli is at the desired consistency, drain and rinse the beans before adding them. crumble in the tempeh. cook this for 3-4 more minutes. again, you might have to add water to prevent pot-burning
  • add salt, curry powder, and cinnamon to taste. add the molasses too. Unfortunately I am completely unaware how much I used. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of each and go from there, is what I would say
  • finally, add the cup of pumpkin and a little more water. cook for another 4-5 minutes. The pumpkin will thicken as it cooks, so adjust with more water if you desire. Taste it again and add more seasonings if you wish.
  • enjoy warm right now, and in a wrap tomorrow!

its a wrap, folks! (punny, right?)

pumpkin curry