Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

It’s Halloween and I’m helping to throw a Halloween party.  As part of that I’ve made a pumpkin cheesecake (recipe courtesy of Good Housekeeping).  It’s my first attempt at a real cheesecake and not one of those refrigerator varieties.  I think it’s turned out well, though I have yet to cut into it as the party is tonight.  The recipe isn’t overly complicated.  There is a water bath, but it’s nothing too hard to deal with.

Crust mise en place

This is the mise en place for the graham cracker crumb crust.

Crust dry ingredients

The graham cracker crumbs and sugar go into a bowl.

Crust mixed together

Then get mixed together with the melted butter until thoroughly coated and slightly moist.

Crust in the pan

The crust gets pressed into the bottom of a springform pan.  The crust then gets baked for about 10 minutes to set up.  After cooling on a wire rack, it is ready for the cheesecake batter.

Pumpkin cheesecake mise en place

Next up is the batter for the cheesecake.  This is the mise en place for it.

Cream cheese about to be mixed

First, the cream cheese gets mixed until it is smooth.

Cream cheese all mixed

Then the sugar gets mixed in.

Pumpkin and other goes in.

The pumpkin, sour cream, and spices also get mixed in.

Batter fully mixed

Finally, the eggs get mixed in, one at a time.

Ready for baking

After making sure that the batter is thoroughly mixed, it goes into the springform pan.  The pan here is wrapped in aluminum foil and placed into a large roasting pan.  The foil helps make sure that no water gets into the cake since the springform pans isn’t water tight.

At this point, boiling water goes into the roasting pan and everything goes into the oven to bake for an hour to an hour and a half.

Topping mise en place

While the cake is baking, the topping can be made.  This is the mise en place for the topping.

Topping ready to be mixed

It’s a quick and easy topping.  Everything just goes into a bowl.

Topping ready for spreading

And gets whisked together.  When the cheesecake is nearly done, the topping should be spread on top the cake.  The cheesecake goes back into the oven to bake for another five minutes.

Fully baked

Here is the final cheesecake cooling on a wire rack after baking.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

It’s fall now and nothing says fall to me like pumpkin bread.  Pumpkin bread is a type of quick bread.  While it’s called bread, it is really more of cake in the shape of a loaf of bread.  This recipe could also be used to make it in the shape of a normal cake and then iced.

This recipe is extremely easy to make and is very forgiving of mistakes.  You could use fresh pumpkin and make it a little more “home made” but would result in a much more involved recipe.

Here is the recipe that I use:

3 cups Granulated Sugar

1 cup Vegetable Oil

4 Eggs

15 oz Canned Pumpkin

3 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour

2 tsp Salt

2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Ground Allspice

2/3 cup Water

Mise en place

Here is the mise en place for the pumpkin bread.

Oil and sugar

First the sugar and oil get mixed together.

Oil and sugar after mixing

Here they are after being creamed together.

4 beaten eggs

Next up is the eggs.  They get lightly beaten before being added.

Eggs mixed into the oil and sugar mixture

This is the mixture after the eggs were added.

Pumpkin gets added

The pumpkin goes in and gets mixed well.

Dry ingredients

The dry ingredients all get measured out into a separate bowl and mixed together.

Final batter

Then the dry ingredients get mixed into the pumpkin mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the water.  This alternating procedure lets you get all the flour mixed in without clumping or over mixing the batter.

Loaf pans ready for baking

The batter gets evenly divided into two loaf pans.  They get baked in a 350 degrees oven for 40-60 minutes.

After baking, still in the pan

When it is done the bread should have pulled a little away from the sides of the pan and a skewer should come out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.

The loaves should be cooled for about 10 minutes in the pans before turning out and cooling the rest of the way on a wire rack.

Final loaf

Here’s the final loaf.