I could not let October go by without posting a few recipes that have pumpkin in it as I love this time of the year when you can get pretty much anything pumpkin flavored. Usually I love decorating for all holidays Halloween included, but for some reason I wasn’t into it this year. I guess that was a good thing considering we had the biggest storm ever to hit this area!
Instead of decorating I got it into my head that I wanted to carve a pumpkin for the first time ever! Since our building was one of the few buildings in the neighborhood with power during the hurricane, I decided to use the time for carving the pumpkin and one of my favorite hobbies…baking! Before I post the pictures of my pumpkin and the first recipe, I want to include some pictures of the damage around our neighborhood. While not nearly as bad as many of the neighborhoods, it puts into perspective how damaging this storm was to everyone in its path.
On a side note I grew up not far from the Jersey Shore and even though I now live up in North Jersey, the shore will always have a special place in my heart as my parents and some close friends still live down there. It’s sad to see all of the destruction and devastation to many of the places I went to growing up. To everyone down there, I hope for the best and know that everyone and everyplace will come out stronger.
Now about that pumpkin…I’ll preface this by saying that I decided to carve while watching football on Sunday…not a good idea. The pumpkin would have been awesome looking except for the fact that the NY Giants as usual played a game that was down to wire…barely winning…let’s just say it did not end well for my poor pumpkin.
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup of roasted pumpkin puree
4 ounces of cream cheese
1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice (combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons of goat cheese
½ teaspoon salt
This will yield a 6 inch size cheesecake which serves 8 small slices. Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer) cream the brown sugar and eggs together. Add in the cream cheese and goat cheese; keep mixing. Now add the vanilla and 1 cup of either fresh roasted pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin puree. Since I had the inside of my pumpkin I roasted it in the oven with some butter so I could use fresh pumpkin for the cheesecake.
Next add in the pumpkin spice and salt. Then mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated. For the crust I had some Italian cookies left over that I crushed but you can crush either regular or chocolate graham crackers or even crush some Oreo cookies. You’ll need about ¼ – ½ cup of crushed cookies. Mix in 2 tablespoons of butter and pour this over the bottom of a well-greased 6 inch spring form pan. I had a bag of crushed toffee chips so I also added a tablespoon to the crust.
Now you can pour your cheesecake mixture over the crust. I added more toffee chips to the top of my cheesecake because I think the flavor goes well with pumpkin but you can leave it plain if you desire. Bake the cheesecake for 35-40 minutes. Traditionally cheesecake is baked in a water bath. Rather than going thru the trouble I put a pan of water in an oven safe container on the bottom shelf of the oven while I baked my cheesecake in the middle shelf. The idea behind doing either this or the water bath is to keep the cheesecake moist and keep the top from cracking which happens when your cheesecake is too dry. Below is my finished cheesecake.
Thoughts, opinions, suggestions are all appreciated. Hope everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy is in good spirits.