Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

2016-11-08-19-11-08

Whats not to love about a classic plain cheesecake!? If made right, you don’t even need the fru fru additions of fresh fruit and whipped cream. I make at least 1 cheesecake every year, depending on the occasion will determine the flavor I choose to make. With autumn in full effect, I wanted to make the one pumpkin flavored dessert I make each year. Last couple of years I’ve made a pumpkin roll and decided this time to make a pumpkin cheesecake. I get that pumpkin spice is over rated and over used, but I promise you this pumpkin swirl cheesecake via Juniors Cheesecakes will have you begging for more.

If you’re not familiar with Juniors (I wasn’t either, my Husband told me about them) they are known for the home of New York’s best cheesecake. You haven’t really lived until you’ve had Cheesecake at Juniors. Unless you plan on traveling to NYC anytime soon, using one of these recipes to make for your own is the closest you’ll get to the best cheesecake. Believe me when I say Cheesecake factory is good, but this is so much better! It has been voted number 1 cheesecake in NY for over 45 years, that’s saying something!

This recipe was borrowed from the Juniors website. Check out the site for other tasty treats and history! (Graham cracker crust is my own)

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Total Time: 1 day.

Yield: 1, 9″ Round cake pan

Graham Cracker Crust:

-1 1/2 Cups Ground Graham Cracker crumbs.

-1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar

-6 Tablespoons Butter, melted

 

-Combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

-Press mixture into 9″ pie plate.

-Place in the oven @ 350 degrees and bake until lightly browned. Remove and allow to cool completely.

dsc_0506

 

For the Cheesecake:

Mise en Place:

Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 cup canned pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling

Method of Prep:

1. Bake off graham cracker crust if you haven’t yet done so.

2. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix!

3. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter and set aside. On low speed, blend the pumpkin and the 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice into the remaining batter. Gently spoon the pumpkin batter on top of the crust. Using a teaspoon, drop the white batter in small spoonfuls on top of the pumpkin batter, pushing it down slightly as you go. Using a thin, pointed knife, cut through the batter a few times in a “figure 8” design, just until white swirls appear.

4. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top has golden and tan swirls, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away-don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours.

5. Release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Pipe whipped cream rosettes around the top edge of the cake. Lightly sprinkle the cream rosettes (page 26) with a little pumpkin pie spice. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate, or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

The Junior’s Way
For this cake, the bakers use canned pumpkin, the kind that’s 100-percent pure pumpkin purée, not canned pumpkin pie mix. This works better than cooked fresh pumpkin because the moisture and flavor are consistent, cake after cake.

juniors-chzcake

Advertisements

Cannolis!!!

946531_10100818372611945_241203187_n

Need I say more?

This is an in depth recipe that does take up to 2 hours to make so I’m not going to ramble on about my life and how awesome cannoli’s are. All you need to know is I basically woke up yesterday morning craving a cannoli. Instead of going to the nearest bakery or Italian restaurant and purchasing what was probably already 3 days if not older and made from a factory somewhere..I put myself to the challenge of making them at home. As long as you have all the proper equipment and tools, these are really easy to make. It’s worth it in the end!

 

Sadly this recipe isn’t Gluten Free/Vegan/Dairy free… but if you want to take the time to prepare a recipe that is and share it with me that would be amazing!

Yield: 24 Delicious cannolis!

Mise En Place:

Shells:

-2 Cups AP Flour

-1 Table spoon Granulated Sugar

-1/4 Teaspoon Salt

-1 Tablespoon plus 2 Teaspoons Unsalted Butter, Cut into small pieces

-1 Egg Yolk

-1/2 White Wine

-1 4 oz Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate bar, melted over a double boiler (optional)

DSC_0508

 

Filling:

-3 Cups Whole milk Ricotta Cheese

-3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

-1/4 Teaspoon Allspice

-1 Lime, Zested

-2 Oranges, Zested

-1 Teaspoon Vanilla

DSC_0491

 

Additional Tools:

-Deep Fryer (Or a deep pot to fill with oil to fry shells)

-1 Quart canola oil, for frying

-Flour for rolling

-1 Egg, lightly beaten for egg wash

-Pastry Brush

-4″ Circle cutter

-Pallet knife

-Cannoi Form

-Vegetable Spray

-Kitchen Towel

-Cookie Cooling Rack

-Rolling Pin

-Mixing Bowl

-Piping Bag

-Air-tight Containers

7757_10100818083765795_445380105_n

 

Method of Prep:

Start with making the shell dough:

-In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar and salt.

-Work the butter pieces into the flour with your fingers until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly.

-Add the egg and wine and mix until it becomes a smooth dough.

-Cover with plastic wrap. Flatten the dough as much as possible in the wrap. Place in the refrigerator until filling is made.

 

For the filling:

-In a medium bowl sift powder sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Add ricotta and citrus zests. Gently fold the cream into the spices and zests. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

To Roll and Fry the shells:

-Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

-Lightly flour a work surface and begin rolling dough as big as you can, as thin as you can (about and 1/8″ thick).

-Cut into rounds. Roll remaining dough back into a ball and roll out again until all dough is used up.

-Wrap each circle around a cannoli mold. Use a little egg wash on the top edge of each round to seal it shut.

-Use a pair of tongs to carefully submerge shell into the hot oil. Or if you’re ballsy like me, you can just drop it in the fryer with your hands facing away from you.

-Fry shell in the oil until light brown in color and crispy, approximately 3 minutes.

-Remove from the oil using tongs (or I used my pallet knife through the holes of the mold) with a kitchen towel in one hand (Careful this product is going to be very hot!) Let cool for 1 minute before removing the shell from the mold.

-Using a kitchen towel, grab the lower end of the mold with your left hand and using your right hand gently twist to release the mold and carefully slide off being sure not the break the shell. Set aside on cookie rack. Repeat with all the circles.

-If your going to dip the ends in melted chocolate, now would be the time to do so. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate until smooth and glossy. Dip one end of the shell, just a little bit. Turn upside down and dip the opposite end. Let sit on a cookie rack until chocolate hardens (I recommend that you don’t place in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate faster..this may cause your shells to become moist and stale quicker)

 

To fill the Cannolis: Just before serving, use a pastry bag without a tip to pipe the filling into the cannoli shells.

-Fill the shells from both ends so the cream runs through the whole shell.

-Feel free to dust with powder sugar or dip in crushed pistachios for extra garnishes.

-Serve immediately.

DSC_0501

DSC_0504

 

Thanksgiving Menu Inspiration

“The meal is not over when you’re full, the meal is over when you hate yourself” -Louis CK

As Americans we get 1 acceptable day a year to be gluttons. My family always has appetizers of a cheese and chacueterie platter accompanied by crackers and chutneys to start and once dinner is ready there is bread, 20 different side dishes, salad, a 15 pound turkey, 2 different gravies, 2 cases of wine, loads of beer and soda, not to mention 5 different pies and other sweet confections for after the meal. Who can eat all this shit?!? I’m definitely one of those people that loads up my plate and can never eat half of it. Everything looks so good and I just want to try it all, my eyes are way bigger than my stomach.

Thanksgiving is just another holiday for me as I carry on with my career in the hotel industry serving others is my highest pleasure. Just because I cant go up north to be with my family doesn’t mean I cant still have a small feast here with Brandon. If your feel stressed or don’t know what to serve for thanksgiving, I’ve got a few ideas on hand that may help you. My family usually has the same menu every year (depending on who is cooking). I like to switch things up and go a different route once in a while. Some of these ideas might give you something new to add to your menu. I hope this guide is helpful. Have a wonderful and safe holiday! 🙂

Breads:

Whether you choose to eat one of these breads at the beginning as a small bite or during your meal, spread some butter or pumpkin butter on it for additional flavor.

Beer Bread Use a blue moon in this recipe to add a honey and light wheat flavor. This bread is fantastic on its own, or dipped into your turkey gravy.

Apple Honey Challah Bread: One of my favorite breads. Adding a nice chutney or creamed butter on top wouldn’t hurt it.

 

Side Dishes:

So many possibilities!

Cuban Fufu: This is a great alternative to the traditional bread stuffing. It’s made from ripe plantains which gives it a sweet taste and is gluten free/vegan.

Butternut Squash Risotto: This should automatically be on your menu, but if it isn’t you should put it on. This is the perfect addition with pureed butternut squash and crispy bacon..you will be getting seconds of this. Or you can eat it by itself as your main course if your not a turkey fan 🙂 This is my personal favorite recipe. Another Gluten free/vegan (if you omit the bacon) option.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi: This can also be served as a main dish. If you have a lot of heavy items on your menu this might not be a good choice to add due to it being a little time consuming but it’s still a delicious dish I couldn’t resist not sharing it.

Sweet Potato and Apple Hash: Have this as a side dish. Just do it.

 

Stocks/Sauces:

Chicken Stock: This is a good recipe to have on hand because you will need stock in your risotto, more than likely your stuffing/dressing, and gravy! Make your stock from scratch, trust me, you will appreciate cooking much more.

Sage Cream: This is a fantastic cream sauce that goes great with the gnocchi dish. If you don’t make the gnocchi I suggest using it for your turkey instead of gravy. The sage is a great fall/winter herb.

 

Dessert:

I have wayyy too many good fall desserts not to share. If you have enough room in you after your meal, eat a little bit of all of these.

Almond Joys: There is nothing seasonal about almond joys, however they are a healthy alternative to pie and if you’ve had too much to eat but have a craving for something sweet, this is the perfect substitute. One small bite size candy wont hurt!

Pumpkin Roll: This is the classic Libbys canned pumpkin recipe. I’d choose this roll over pie any day. I switched it up a bit by adding 1 mini airplane bottle of makers mark into the cream cheese filling. When your whipping the cream cheese together, add in the bourbon and whip until cream cheese if silky smooth. Approximately 10 minutes on high speed. The bourbon makes this roll unforgettable!

Apple Chips: This is one of those kid friendly recipes. If your trying to avoid giving your kids lots of sugar after a heavy meal, they will enjoy these cinnamon flavored apple chips!

Pumpkin Granola: Mix in some Greek yogurt and fresh sliced fruit for another healthy option.

Spiced Carrot Cake: This is my FAVORITE dessert recipe next to the almond joys and pumpkin roll. The addition of fresh grated ginger makes this carrot cake the best I’ve ever had. Another cute way to serve it if you don’t want to make a whole cake is to pour the batter into a cupcake pan and have carrot cake cupcakes. YES!

 

Beverages:

Thanksgiving isn’t complete without a seasonal wine with dinner and a cup of coffee after with dessert.

Beaujolais Noveau: If your not a wine freak, you may not have any idea what this wine is. The 2012 vintage has finally arrived. This is the best wine to include at your thanksgiving meal, the perfect compliment to turkey. This light bodied red wine made from the gamay grape, has hints of red berries and has a fruity almost jammy taste. These two bottles are sold between $8 and $10. Go Buy a bottle now!

-If you enjoy wine but are unsure what bottle to get with your meal, this picture might be helpful:

Pumpkin Spice Creamer: Avoid buying the processed creamers from the store and make your own for much less that what you would pay. This creamer is perfect for coffee and works well in tea. Pair this coffee with a slice of pumpkin roll or carrot cake.

 

Happy Thanksgiving and Cheers Enjoy!!