Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Have I mentioned that our kids visited on Sunday? Twice? Oh, ok, well, I guess you know then that David and Kara and Bradley and Brenna Rose came over to visit on Sunday. Bradley has a magnificent spirit of adventure and more energy than any pink bunny! B. Rose is a piece of sunshine in a baby. She's the happiest little girl I've ever seen. We had a magnificent time!!!
Since Saturday was Kara's birthday, a special dessert was called for on Sunday. In fact, I waited til they got here to decide on Sunday dinner so I could fix something she really likes. So, I've got to tell you I goofed on brunch. She doesn't like eggs and I served the crabcakes benedict. Kara was her normal sweet self and slide the egg quietly over to David's plate. Note to self, Kara doesn't like eggs. Kara doesn't like eggs. So, now I'm counting on all of you to remind me in a year :-)
Late afternoon, I quietly asked David what Kara's favorite dessert is. Cheesecake. Awesome. One of my favorites too. Pumpkin Cheesecake just fits in with one of those perfect fall days. It rained a bit, then the sun came out. The temperature was fine for sitting outdoors. The trees were still dressed in part of their fall glory. And, I have a stash of pumpkin you wouldn't believe. Last year when I found out there was going to be a shortage, I bought about six cans. Then, about a month ago I saw it at Trader Joe's and bought another six. Offered three to another blogger who'd been hunting but she evidently found her own... So, I have about nine cans. Cheshire Cat GRIN. And, yes, I'm having fun cooking with it. Pumpkin is one of my favorite things.
Quick check of the fridge. Two packages of lowfat cream cheese. Darn, most recipes call for three. But, we'll make do. Connie used a bit of the pumpkin puree in our pumpkin martinis but most of the can was left. There was some whipping cream in the fridge. And, a lot of pecans in the freezer. Plus, plenty of triple ginger cookies from Trader Joe's for the crust. We were in business. I put the cheesecake together and popped it in the oven. It came out as dinner went to the table. Argh. Not enough time to cool completely. After we ate, the whipped cream went on, followed by the pecans and some caramel sauce. And, the whipped cream started to slide off. No time to hunt for birthday candles. I grabbed a candle from the kitchen table and planted it in the middle and lit it. Beauty shot- or what will pass for one! And, Kara come quick and make a wish and blow out the candle. Everyone got their cheesecake and devoured it. The leftovers went home with Kara. Super double bonus. Except for the fact that John and Mary next door had a Butler University homecoming party and John showed up at our door with four plates of leftovers - two of which were incredibly decadent brownies... So much for avoiding the calories!!
for the cheesecake:
2 8 oz packages lowfat cream cheese
3/4 c dark brown sugar
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 t ground cinnamon
14 oz can of pumpkin puree
for the crust:
Trader Joe's triple ginger cookies or graham crackers or other ginger cookies
2-4 T butter
1/4 - 1/2 c sugar
for the pecans:
1 c coarsely chopped pecans
2 T shagbark hickory syrup or maple syrup
2 T dark brown sugar
2 t freshly grated nutmeg
2 t ground cinnamon
for the whipped cream:
1 pint whipping cream
2 t apple pie liquer or calvados
1-2 T powdered sugar
caramel sauce (I cheated and used store-bought)
Make the crust and press it into a springform pan.
To make the crust, melt the butter and mix it with the finely crushed cookies and the sugar. You can use white sugar, dark brown sugar or light brown sugar. Whatever you prefer.
Put the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Whip until it's softened. One at a time, beat the eggs in. Add the sugar, spices and pumpkin. Pour onto the crust.
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
While the cheesecake is cooling, make the candied pecans. (Thank you to the Baking Barrister for the great recipe!)
Toss the pecans with the syrup. Then with the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Put in an oven proof baking dish and bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes. Her directions say to bake until you smell a lovely aroma. I think that's exactly perfect!!!
Make the whipped cream. In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream until it's almost stiff. Add the powdered sugar and liqueur. Fold in gently then finish whipping.
To assemble, put the cheesecake on a serving platter. Pipe the whipped cream on the top.
Sprinkle with the pecans.
Drizzle with the caramel sauce.