Saturday, November 22, 2008

Roasted Sweet Potato Cheese Cake

From Sunset Magazine:

Notes: You can make this cheesecake up to 3 days ahead; cover and chill. Garnish with cream up to 6 hours before serving; cover and chill until serving. Prep and Cook Time: about 2 1/2 hours, plus at least 2 1/2 hours to cool and chill.
Yield

Makes 12 to 16 servings
Ingredients

* 2 dark orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb. total), such as jewel or red garnet (sometimes sold as yams)
* 1 tablespoon melted butter
* Pecan Crust (recipe follows)
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
* 3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, regular or light (neufch√Ętel), at room temperature
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 1/4 cup whipping cream
* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 1/4 cup maple syrup
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* Maple Cream (recipe follows)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375° (convection not recommended). Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and brush with melted butter. Bake until potatoes are soft when pressed, 45 to 55 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare crust. Bake in same oven with potatoes until lightly browned all over, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Scrape any charred spots off potatoes, then cut potatoes into chunks. Whirl in a food processor or mash in a bowl with lemon juice until smooth. Reserve 1 cup; save any extra for another use.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in granulated and brown sugars, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, until mixture is well blended and smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Add reserved sweet potato mixture, the whipping cream, sour cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix on low speed until well blended.

5. Wrap bottom of cheesecake pan with heavy-duty foil, pressing it up the sides. Pour batter over crust. Put cheesecake pan in a 12- by 15-inch roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Set pans in oven and pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cheesecake pan.

6. Bake until cake barely jiggles in the center when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove pans from oven. Lift cheesecake pan from roasting pan and let cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour, then chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours, or up to 3 days (cover once cold).

7. Up to 6 hours before serving, cut around inside of pan rim to release cake; remove rim. With a pastry bag, pipe dollops of maple cream onto cake. Or serve maple cream separately, to spoon onto each wedge.

Pecan Crust: Whirl 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans in a blender until finely ground; you should have 1/4 cup. In a bowl, mix pecans, 1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 5 tablespoons melted butter. Pour into a 9-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim (2 1/4 in. tall). Press mixture evenly over bottom of pan.

Maple Cream: In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat 3/4 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks form. On low speed, beat in 1/4 cup maple syrup just until blended.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread Pudding


* 6 cups French bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
* 1 cup whipping cream
* 1 cup whole milk
* 3 eggs
* 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* ¼ teaspoon salt
* ½ cup candied ginger, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange bread cubes in an 11x7-inch glass baking dish. Pour whipping cream and milk over, stirring to combine. Set aside. Whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, spices, vanilla extract, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Pour over bread cubes and stir to combine. Mix in candied ginger. Bake for about 60 minutes or until set. Cut into six pieces and top with Cinnamon Whipped Cream.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

* 2 cups chilled whipping cream
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Beat chilled cream, sugar and cinnamon until peaks form.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

INSPIRATION

Five simple rules for Happiness:
1. Free your heart from hatred
2. Free your mind from worries
3. Live simply
4. Give more
5. expect less

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kitchen Question and Answer

Question: How many teaspoons in a package of dry yeast?

Answer: there is .25 oz or 2.5t to an envelope of dry yeast

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baking: Maple Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups all purpose flower
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 stick unsalted butter,softened
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans,finely chopped

TIP: Use a 2 ounce ice-cream scoop to dish out batter


Heat oven 350F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together using a mixer set on medium speed in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, syrup, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture by thirds,alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in the nuts.
Fill 18 lined muffin cups and bake until a tester comes out clean- about 20 minutes. Cool completely. Ice with Maple-butter frosting.

Maple-butter Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup dark-brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Beat the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl with a mixer set on medium speed until light and fluffy- about 3 minutes. Continue beating, and add the maple syrup and vanilla. Gradually, add the confectioners' sugar, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy- about 1 minute. Chill for 1 hour before using.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or other nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or dish. Cut a length of parchment that will cover the bottom and two sides (makes it much easier to remove), and line the pan with it. Butter the lining as well.

2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.

4. Pour half of batter (about two cups) into a separate bowl and stir chocolate mixture into it. If you find that it is a little thick (as mine was) add a little more batter (a few tablespoons or so) until it is more pourable. This is important because mine was quite thick, and the pumpkin half was quite thin, so I had trouble swirling the two together.

5. In other bowl, stir in the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don’t set.

6. With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Be sure to get your knife all the way to the bottom of the pan–I didn’t, and ended up with a chocolate base, not that it is such a bad thing. Sprinkle with nuts, if using.

7. Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

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