« October 2010 | Main | December 2010 »

November 28, 2010

By request: Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

David made his first cheesecake this week. And then his second two days later...because it was so good and we were going to celebrate Thanksgiving yesterday with 44 ex-pats (mostly Americans, plus one family each from Canada and Australia, who have lived either in the USA or nearby :-). 


This recipe was also requested, so here it is, from Cook's Illustrated: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=6303
(click on the link for some possibly helpful photos)


Notes from David:
For the crust:
- He used buttered parchment paper on the bottom of the springform pan (no spray), and butter on the sides of the pan
- He used one 170g package of Petit Beurre cookies (closer to 6 oz, and obviously not Graham crackers since we can't get those here). It worked great.
- He used less sugar, 1.5 T or 2 T sugar (not 3 T)


For the filling:
- He used generously rounded measures of the spices, not level ones
- For the cream cheese, one recipe requires 3.5 of the 200g tubs we can get here.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 12 to 16.   Published November 1, 2003.  

Depending on the oven and the temperature of the ingredients, the cheesecake may bake about 15 minutes faster or slower than the instructions indicate; it is therefore best to check the cake 1 1/4 hours into baking. Although the cheesecake can be made up to three days in advance, the crust will begin to lose its crispness after only one day. To make slicing the cheesecake easy and neat, use a knife with a narrow blade, such as a carving knife; between cuts, dip the blade into a pitcher of hot water and wipe it clean with paper towels. The cheesecake is good on its own, but the Brown Sugar and Bourbon Cream (related recipe) is a grand addition.


5 ounces graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (10 1/3 ounces)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon table salt
  1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
5 large eggs , left at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 cup heavy cream


  1. FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.

  2. FOR THE FILLING: Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside. To dry pumpkin (see illustrations below): Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.

  3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.

  4. Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (see note). Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

  5. TO SERVE: Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve. 




Drying Pumpkin with Paper Towels


      1. Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer.

2. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated.

3. Peel back top layer of towels and discard.

4. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towels.

Posted via email from K's Café

November 28, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2)

By Request: Pumpkin Cookie Recipe

This is a very old recipe. That is to say, it was posted on an internal company bulletin board on 28-OCT-1987 (by someone named Gedenberg), and David brought it home sometime between 1991 and 1994 while he was working at a certain computer company in New Hampshire. We've been using it ever since, and I thank Beth who asked me for a copy, because in preparing to share it, I realize that our only copy is this decrepit piece of paper, full of stains and markings about how it worked best in various countries we've lived in. Now we will have a digital copy in case anything should ever happen to this precious item. Enjoy, Beth & family!

If the actual Mr. or Ms. Gedenberg should read this, please say hello - and thank you for sharing a great recipe!!!

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 cup of softened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup Libby's Solid Pack Pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Then add to butter mixture, alternating with pumpkin, beating after each addition.

Drop by rounded tablespoonsful on lightly greased cookie sheets (I use parchment paper and no grease). Smooth tops (they don't spread/melt much).

Bake at 350°F/180C 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on racks.

Store in airtight container. (Note: I find this makes them clingy and a bit too moist - they are best eaten FRESH! :-) Best to make on the day you want to share them.

Variations: make some plain, some with chocolate chips and/or pecans. Raisins if you like those. My favorite is chocolate chip pecan (but the original recipe sharer said plain was their favorite).

- This recipe doubles well, which then uses the whole can of pumpkin. Or, you can make a single recipe and then use the other half of the can for a loaf of pumpkin bread.
- For people in Switzerland, you can get currently cans of Libby's pumpkin from tasteofamerica.ch (under "Baking Ingredients" - 5.50CHF for 15oz/425g); definitely worth it for special occasions!
- Now that the web exists (but we got this BEFORE THE WEB!!! Remember back then?), the same recipe seems to be available at  Cooks.com (in three different places) and VeryBestBaking.com.
- If your oven has a fan, the cookies only take closer to 10-12 minutes, so watch them.

Thanks be to God who thought up pumpkins.

Posted via email from K's Café

November 28, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 26, 2010

Lots of Snow, 7:30am this morning...

Every day now, I wake up and eagerly open the shades to have a peek...yesterday was disappointing, with less snow than the day before, but this morning, wow, was I rewarded! And it's still coming down! I love living in a place where this can be my morning wake-up view! Thank you, God and thank you, David, for letting us live here in Switzerland! (as opposed to, say, coastal California or Mediterranean France). Yay, now the Advent season can commence in style on Sunday!

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from K's Café

November 26, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 17, 2010

Village Sky

Well, Jason's in the thick of college application essay revision (about 5000 words required in 18 different little essays!!!) and Les Misérables musical rehearsals, while Emily is recovering from a fever/sore throat/headache-type illness, David gets into the swing of his new managerial position and all the meetings required, and I tear my hair out with how behind I am in everything at this time of year.

Our fifth family dance evening at our international church here went quite well (34 dancers, half of them children), and it was lovely to have friends staying with us for the weekend, who were so enthusiastic about the dancing that we did some more at home the next evening! What fun! I was especially blessed to have a co-teacher at the dance for the first time since I started teaching back in April 2009. This meant that I got to dance with my husband half the time instead of just doing all the calling. I loved it SO much. He is a wonderful person to dance with. I laughed so hard while we were rapidly and energetically polka-ing around the room. David leads very well, and makes me smile. I also loved waltzing with my son, my son, who is, as far as we know, going off to college somewhere on another continent in less than a year.

Now it's off to a teacher-parent-student conference at the high school...but please enjoy this lovely sky in our village:

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from K's Café

November 17, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2)

November 06, 2010

Autumn Leaves in the Jura and our back yard

Last weekend the kids and I got to visit dear friends two hours' drive west, in the French-speaking Swiss canton of Jura. They took us up a 740-year-old (if I recall correctly) stone tower, with lovely autumn views from the top:



Then this weekend, we raked leaves in our own back yard and jumped in them:


 And we played with the neighbour's beautiful kitty who came under the fence. We are so thankful for such a sweet, gorgeous cat so nearby, with whom we can visit outside, avoiding allergic reactions inside the house. It's only the good parts of having a pet.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from K's Café

November 6, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jason and Emily's Hallowe'en creations

Jason crafted this amazing ship with a foremast, mainmast and mizzenmast :-)



Emily went swirly.

Praise be to God for sharing His wonderful creative streak with His humans.

Posted via email from K's Café

November 6, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)