Cheesecakes

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Who loves strawberries?

I Do… I Do…!

I mean just look at them aren’t they one of the most beautiful fruits you’ve ever seen?
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This weekend I’ll be going over to my nieces house to celebrate her birthday and I will be bringing along this little baby.

Actually I’m going to have to drop it off Saturday morning on my to the “Build Your Best Blog” Seminar in Los Angeles.

Diane Cu and Todd Porter of White On Rice Couple and Jaden and Scott Hair of Steamy Kitchen will be leading presentations on topics that will help optimize our blogs and take advantage of current tools and resources to do so. I’m all for “optimizing”!

I’m sorry I don’t have a yummy drool worthy photo of a big nice slice of the cheesecake. I’ll try to take a picture of a slice on Saturday and update this post with it.

I’ll be sure and leave a little note attached to the cheesecake box that says “Save a slice for Josie, or else!” when I drop it off Saturday morning!






Pineapple Mango Cheesecake
adapted from The New York Times Dessert Cookbook
Mango Cheesecake by Nigella Lawson

Crust
8 oz animal crackers
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
4 oz unsalted butter softened and cut into pieces

Pineapple Mango Cheesecake - Ingredients

Cheesecake batter
8 oz fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
8 oz fresh or frozen mango chunks
3 8 oz packages of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon meyer lemon juice
2 teaspoons pineapple rum
2 teaspoons coconut rum

Pineapple Mango Cheesecake Crust
Ground animal crackers in a food processor until they resemble fine crumbs.

Pineapple Mango Cheesecake - Crumbs
Add dark brown sugar and butter. Pulse until mixture clumps together like damp sand.
Pineapple Mango Cheesecake - Crust
Press mixture evenly into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and refrigerate while preparing filling.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pineapple Mango Cheesecake - Frozen Fruit
Pineapple Mango Cheesecake - Pineapple Mango Puree
In a food processor or with an immersion blender puree the pineapple and mango. If using frozen fruit, bring to room temperature by heating the puree in a small saucepan over low heat.

Pineapple Mango Cheesecake - Cream Cheese
In a food processor or stand mixer blend the puree with the cream cheese until smooth.

Pineapple Mango Cheesecake - Eggs
Add sugar and continue mixing, slowly add eggs one at a time until well combined. Finally add the lemon juice, pineapple rum, and coconut rum, mix well.

Pineapple Mango Cheesecake - Batter
Place springform pan on a double layer of heavy-duty foil. Crimp edges up around pan to make a waterproof casing. Place foil-covered pan in a deep roasting pan. Pour filling into pan and pour boiling water into roasting pan to come about halfway up sides of cake pan, but not higher than foil.

Pineapple Mango Cheesecake
Bake until filling is set and wobbles slightly in the center, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove pan from water bath. Discard foil and place pan on a cooling rack.

When cool, refrigerate overnight.

To serve, remove sides from pan and place on a serving platter.

Time: 2 hours, plus overnight chilling
Yields: 8 to 10 servings

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Gluten-Free Nanaimo Bars

January 2010 – Daring Baker’s Challenge

Shhh… I’ve been hiding out.

Apparently, these little fellas (Nanaimo Bars) have caused quite a stir inside my “circle of trust”. I don’t really get what the fuss is all about? I mean, OK… so, you have three layers of deliciousness.

A base layer comprised of crumbled graham cracker (gluten-free in this particular case), shredded coconut, chopped pecans, and chocolate no big deal right?

A middle layer made up of a bit of cheesecake pudding mix, butter, sugar, a little heavy cream and toffee bits.

Then finally the whole thing simply gets topped with melted chocolate… whoopdie doo!

Honestly I don’t get it…

So, if anyone wants to point any fingers. I suggest you point them at our lovely host of this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge Lauren of Celiac Teen.

And, actually I’m sure she had the best intentions, probably just wanted to celebrate the fact that this year’s winter Olympics will be held in Vancouver and at the same time share a very classic Canadian dessert with us.

Her Nanaimo recipe was based on a combination of 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

Gluten-Free Nanaimo Bars
from Lauren of Celiac Teen

Gluten-Free Graham Wafers

1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Sorghum Flour
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract


In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the
flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate.


Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.

Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.

Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.

Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.


Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.

Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.


When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.


Nanaimo Bars

*Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

*Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar

*Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter

*Daydreamer Desserts Substitutions:
Bottom Layer: pecans for almonds
Middle Layer: 1.4oz box of cheesecake pudding mix for custard powder + 1/2 cup toffee bits
Top Layer: I added 1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder

For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken.



Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.


For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder (or Daydreamer Dessert Version: 1 small box of cheesecake pudding mix), and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.



For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill. (* I added 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder to my melted chocolate)



Nothing to get excited over… right??

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This Thanksgiving Day was a little different from years past, in that it was the very first time my family and I participated in a Turkey Trot. It was a bit chaotic, but so much fun nonetheless. (My youngest might not agree 100% with that last statement though.)

When I initially signed us up for the 5K Turkey Trot my husband suggested that we buy a pre-made turkey dinner because I was going to be too tired to cook a complete dinner… [Nonsense!!]

Once he realized that I wasn’t going to budge on my decision to prepare the dinner myself, the planning was underway.

One of the very first words out of the mouth of my oldest while I was looking through my stack of fall issues of Gourmet Magazine, and other cookbooks were “Can we please have a traditional thanksgiving dinner?” In my opinion we always have a traditional thanksgiving dinner, turkey, ham, green veg, a starch, dessert, etc. I know he meant he didn’t want me adding any international influenced flavors.

One of the first items I decided upon was surprise, surprise… dessert! And as you can see, it was cheesecake, in the past it had always been of the pumpkin variety, however this year I decided to change it up a bit. Still providing flavors of fall I chose Maple and walnut, and everyone including my oldest loved it.

Following is the menu which generated big smiles, a very quiet dinner table (post giving thanks and table grace/blessing), and clean plate club members.

Thanksgiving Day Menu

Aperitif

Vodka Tonic with a twist of lime

Appetizer

Roasted & Salted Pistachios
Assorted Cheeses & Crackers

Main Course

Extra-Moist Roast Turkey (Brined for 24 hours)
City Ham
Haricots Verts with Bacon and Chestnuts
Smashed Potatoes with Roasted-Garlic Gravy
Sage Stuffing
Fresh Dinner Rolls

Dessert

Maple Walnut Cheesecake




Maple Walnut Cheesecake
adapted from The Ultimate Cheesecake Cookbook
by Joey Reynolds


CRUST
1 stick butter
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups finely ground galletas marias
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Double wrap the bottom of a 10″ springform pan.

Melt butter over low heat. Combine butter with nuts, crumbs and sugar in a bowl and stir until throughly blended. Press crumbs over the bottom and sides of the pan.



BATTER
4 8oz packages cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dulce de nuez de macadamia (Sweet Macadamia nut cream)
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water for the water bath in a medium sauce pan or in a tea kettle.

In a mixer, whip cream cheese on medium high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy, add sugar and continue to beat for 2 more minutes. Add extracts, maple syrup, macadamia nut cream, salt, and walnuts and blend together thoroughly.

Reduce mixer speed to the lowest setting and add the eggs one at a time, mix just enough so that each egg has been incorporated into the batter.

Place the springform pan in a larger oven proof pan. Pour batter into the crust and place into a preheated oven, poor hot water into the outer pan so that it only reaches 1/2 way up the springform pan, bake for 50-60 minutes.

Turn oven off open the oven door slightly and let it sit there for another hour. Remove and place in the fridge allowing it to cool overnight.


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Where do I start…

Well, I knew my next post was definitely going to be a cheesecake of sorts and due to the timing of my post it would certainly contain pumpkin.

My only dilemma was the flavor combination, I wanted it to be different, something not seen to often when it comes to the crust and cheesecake itself.

So there you have it… short, sweet [literally] and to the point. Don’t be afraid to try this combination of peanut butter, chocolate & pumpkin, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Oh and heads up, once you set out the peanut butter cups on the counter keep an eye on them… mine started to disappear.





Reese’s Chunk Pumpkin Cheesecake



Nutter Butter Oreo Swirl Crust

14 Nutter Butter Cookies
14 Oreo Cookies
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt

In a food processor pulse Nutter Butter cookies until they have been processed into crumbs, place crumbs in a small bowl. Repeat with the Oreos and place them into a separate bowl.

To each bowl add the following:
1/2 the melted butter
2 tablespoons of sugar
tiny pinch of salt

Stir everything to combine in each of the bowls. Take spoonfuls of the Oreo crumb mixture and place in a springform pan leaving room to place spoonfuls of the Nutter Butter crums right next to them in somewhat of a dotted pattern.


Reese’s Chunk Pumpkin Cheesecake Batter

3 8oz. packages of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon creme de cacao
1/2 tablespoon myer’s rum
4 large eggs
12 reese’s peanut butter cups roughly chopped
1/4 cup reese’s peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixer, whip cream cheese on medium high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy, then add sugar and whip for 2 more minutes.

Add the maple syrup, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, creme de cacao and myer’s rum and blend thoroughly.


Reduced mixer speed to the lowest setting and add the eggs one at a time, mix just enough so that each egg has been incorporated into the batter.


Stir in the peanut butter chunks and chips with a wooden spoon.


Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Refrigerate a minimum of 4-6 hours, preferably overnight. Remove from refrigerator for 15 minutes prior to serving.


Enjoy!





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