What a busy weekend!
And the holidays aren’t even really upon us yet. Heck, I haven’t even vacuumed up one single pine needle. *sigh* It’s gonna be a lonnnnggg and crazy December.
This past weekend The FarmGirl took the party on the road. I gave my very first Mobile Cooking Lesson! I took my kid and some equipment and lots of homegrown veggies and journeyed to a friend’s house to teach her and her husband how to make a fabulous dinner using some of the recipes from this blog. It was a wonderful evening, complete with delightful conversation and even more delightful wine (but no whine, thankfully, because the 3 kids played together very well). And let it be known that (veggie-heavy and parmesan-cheesy) butternut squash risotto was enjoyed by 2 of 3 children under 8 years of age. That in itself is a victory!
We all had so much fun and can’t wait to do it again. Since my winters are slow here on the farm, I think another ‘lesson’ is in order sooner rather than later. Anyone else interested? Email me (afarmgirl4ever at yahoo dot com) or post it on Facebook.
I promised you all this recipe last week, so here goes with my latest obsession, which, by they way, I was nibbling for a week. It tasted every bit as good the following Wednesday as it did on Thanksgiving.
I’ve never been able to make a cheesecake without a fault line forming across the top. I think that’s probably because 1) I don’t have a pan large enough for a water bath, hence I always baked them without and 2) I’m as impatient as a toddler in church and I always un-sprung my springform before the cake was thoroughly chilled.
This time, however, I used the only pan I had for the water bath (it was more of a toe-dip since it was a half-sheet pan). SOME water would be better than NO water, from what I’ve read, so I did what I could. I also reduced the oven temperature to 300°. Would it cook faster and be just as good at 325° or 350°? Perhaps. Was I willing to take the chance? Nope. I was doing everything in my power to make this the best. Damn. Cheesecake. Ever.
And it was! 🙂
Kasha’s Pumpkin-Mascarpone Cheesecake
To make the crust:
9 oz gingersnaps or whatever crumb you like, ground fine in food processor (about 1 3/4 c)
4 T butter, melted
Stir together crumbs and butter, press firmly into Pam-sprayed 10″ springform pan. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool on wire rack while preparing filling ingredients.
Have all of these filling ingredients ready:
3 8 oz blocks cream cheese, softened/room temp
4 oz mascarpone, room temp
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/4 c pumpkin puree or roasted and pureed Bialas Farms ambercup squash
1 t vanilla extract
2 t pumpkin pie spice (or 1 1/4 t cinnamon, 1/2 t ginger, 1/4 t nutmeg, 1/4 t cloves)
**Temperature of cream cheese and mascarpone is important. Cold cheese is going to end up lumpy. You don’t want lumpy cheesecake – it would make me gag.
** Why pumpkin pie spice blend? Because Penzey’s is awesome and sends you free stuff when you order.
** A stand mixer isn’t ESSENTIAL, but it does help. A sturdy hand mixer will work just fine.
Beat cream cheese in mixer until soft and creamy, about 1 minute.
Scrape down sides of bowl. While beating on med speed, add eggs one at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add pumpkin, vanilla and spices. Beat for 1 minute longer.
For the topping:
1 1/4 c sour cream
2T brown sugar
1/2 t maple extract
Mix together above ingredients and spread over entire surface of cheesecake. Return to oven for 10 minutes more.
Cool cake in oven 1 hour. Make sure oven is OFF… I speak from experience 😉
Remove to cooling rack and gently run paring knife around edge to loosen if necessary. Chill thoroughly, overnight if possible, before removing sides of springform.
If you want to transfer the cake to a serving platter, make sure the cake is COLD. Carefully (and I repeat… CAREFULLY) slip a large offset spatula underneath the cake. While pressing down with the spatula, run it along the bottom of the cake in a circular fashion. Hold the cake over the serving platter and gently slide it off the springform bottom.
Not comfortable with that? Leave it on the the pan bottom. It tastes so good no one will notice.
To decorate top:
2/3 c heavy cream
1/3 c mascarpone
2T confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla extract
Check out this nifty science-based measuring technique – displacement in action! Measure 2/3 cup cream in 1 cup measuring cup. Carefully spoon in enough mascarpone to raise the cream level to 1-cup. Only one dirty measuring utensil – love that!
Junior physicists chill out – I understand measurements won’t be perfect if the solid is not completely submerged. Thankfully cooking is more forgiving than science.
Combine in bowl of stand mixer (yes, of course you may use a hand mixer). Gradually turn speed up to high and whisk until stiff peaks form.
Sprinkle cinnamon lightly over the top and serve to many people — or serve to a few and save the rest for late-night tv watching.