Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake for an Elegant Thanksgiving Dinner Finale

Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

Looking for an elegant alternative to pumpkin pie? Want to enjoy the holidays without ruining your waistline? I have the recipe for you and a book to recommend. Marisa Churchill, a contestant on Season 2 of Top Chef and San Francisco resident, has recently published an inspired collection of low calorie desserts, called, Sweet & Skinny: 100 Recipes for Enjoying Life’s Sweeter Side Without Tipping the Scales.
Click on the book to purchase it at Amazon.com.

I recently spent an evening with her since we share a mutual friend, and she told me that the Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake in the book is one of her favorites, so I made it for my annual Halloween Dinner Party (more recipes to follow from that event). It was divine. The flavor of the cheesecake is subtle and sophisticated. It’s not too sweet, but it still retains the yummy flavors reminiscent of your favorite pumpkin desserts.

Marisa Churchill

The book is full of fabulous recipes and Marisa really takes the time to explain the techniques. She provides sugar-free alternatives for each dessert as well as all of the nutritional information you need to stay on track (calories, grams of fat, etc.) and stay healthy. Get this book in time for the holidays! There are lots of cookie recipes to satisfy all of your Christmas cookie-baking needs!

Click here to Follow Marisa on Twitter.

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Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake
Serves 12
From the book, Sweet & Skinny: 100 Recipes for Enjoying Life’s Sweeter Side Without Tipping the Scales

Ingredients

For the Crust
Nonstick pan spray
6 oz honey graham crackers (about 10 cookie sheets)
2 Tbsp 1% or 2% milk

For the Cheesecake
8 oz (1 cup) reduced-fat Kraft cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup nonfat sour cream, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 egg whites from large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp reduced-fat ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp large pecan pieces, toasted for garnish (I used hazelnuts)
2 Tbsp pomegranate seeds for garnish

Method

For the crust

1. Coat 9-inch springform pan with pan spray. Break up the graham crackers and process them in a food processor until they are reduced to very fine crumbs. Add the milk and process for 30 seconds, or until the crumbs hold together when you squeeze them in your fist.

2. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Press the crumbs firmly over the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan, using your finger-tips to compress them.

For the cheesecake

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is completely smooth and well blended. (If using a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment). Add the sour cream, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; mix for 2 to 3 minutes longer to blend well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and cloves and mix for 1 minute longer. Add the ricotta and mix just until it is incorporated.

3. Pour the batter over the crust and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cheesecake jiggles only slightly in the center when you gently shake the pan. (If the cheesecake browns too quickly or begins to crack, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the top, without touching the filling, for the remaining baking time).

4. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool for 1 hour. Then run a knife around the edge of the pan if needed to loosen the cheesecake, remove the outer pan ring, and transfer the cake, on its base, to a serving plate. Cover the cake loosely with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

To serve: Cut the cheesecake into 12 wedges, and garnish them with the toasted pecans and pomegranate seeds.

Refrigerate any leftover cheesecake, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.

Nutritional Information:
Calories per serving: 221
Grams of fat: 9.5g

Watch Marisa whip up a Chocolate Mousse with Olive and Sea Salt:

Cardamom Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Cardamom Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Pumpkin is kind of a thing around here if you haven’t already noticed. What better way to put canned pumpkin to good use than to make it into ice cream? Well, making it into sorbet maybe if you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant. I’ll have to try that next, but for now, I just couldn’t resist making a full-throttle, (read full-fat) ice cream.

Hey, do you know about Cardamom? It’s a Indian spice with an aromatic flavor. It’s a truly unique taste. You can buy it in pods, which keep longer, or you can buy it already ground. I used the ground version in this recipe for simplicity’s sake. It’s on the pricy side (actually, it’s the most expensive spice on the market, even more than Saffron. Isn’t that cool)? It can be left out, but if you want to try something new, you can also use it in this recipe for Pumpkin Cardamom Crackle Custard and in lots of Indian dishes.

This is kind of a 2-day process unless you start early in the morning, so be prepared to wait to sink your teeth (ouch)! into this ice cream.

Custard in the Ice Cream Maker

Starting to freeze

Ice cream churning

[print_this]Cardamom Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Serves 8? or 2
This recipe was inspired by David Lebovitz’s Pumpkin Ice Cream post, but then I kind of changed it. He adapted a recipe from the book The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets with Ideas for Inventing Your Own by Karen DeMasco & Mindy Fox.

Ingredients

5 egg yolks (large eggs)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup 1% milk (it’s what I had)
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsb granulated sugar (the white kind)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (I like nutmeg. You could cut back on this)
1 whole cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin purée

Method

1. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and set aside.

2. Make an ice bath (ice and water in a big bowl) and place another bowl in it.

2. In a medium sauce pan, mix together the heavy whipping cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon stick, and salt. Gently heat until the edges are bubbling. Add about half of the liquid to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Pour that mixture in a steady stream (stirring all the time) back into the saucepan. Continue heating and stirring until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula. If you have a thermometer, the temperature of the liquid should be about 160˚F – 170˚F. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into the bowl nestled in the ice bath. Add the brown sugar and stir to mix and dissolve. Allow to cool and then cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Chill the canned pumpkin too while you’re at it. Make sure that the bowl of your ice cream maker freezes overnight too.

3. Mix together the chilled custard, the pumpkin and the vanilla. At this point, you could press the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer (David Lebovitz did), but I skipped that step to see if I could and it came out great. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and run for about 25 minutes or until ice cream stops looking like a custard and starts looking like ice cream. Remove immediately to a storage container and continue to freeze in the freezer.[/print_this]

Cardamom Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Apple-Cranberry Sauce

Apple-Cranberry Sauce

Apple-Cranberry Sauce

Day 6 of 14 Days of Apple and I bought an apple peeler/corer/slicer today. Yes! It turns a whole apple into peeled, perfectly uniform thin slices in a snap. I’m going to make apple tarts every day now.

Apple peeler, corer, slicer

Apple peeler, corer, slicer

It’s available on Amazon:

Tonight, I’m hosting a dinner party for some friends and when I was at the grocery store yesterday, I saw they had fresh, organic, free-range turkeys. I decided to cook an early Thanksgiving dinner since I won’t be cooking the full meal later this month. I thought it would be fun to create a cran-apple compote – or chutney – or relish – or sauce. Does anyone know the difference?

This recipe is so easy because you bake it in the oven rather than simmer it on the stove. There was no mess and no risk of burning it. The other day, I left something simmering and reducing on the stove and came back from an extensive Twitter session to find a kitchen full of smoke and a dead saucepan. This recipe is super easy and open to interpretation, so feel free to play with it. Add raisins for a more texture or cinnamon for another flavor accent. Most of all, have fun.

Stay tuned for more posts from my pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner.

Apple Cranberry Sauce
Serves 6

Ingredients

3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
2 cups fresh cranberries
A few squeezes of fresh lemon juice
5-6 large orange zest pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup orange juice

Method

1. Lay all of the ingredients in a baking pan. Cover and bake in a pre-heated 350˚F oven for about 1 hour. Remove and let cool. Pour off excess liquid when transferring to a bowl. Stir to mix and crush ingredients further. Cool completely. Serve chilled.

Apple-Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple Carrot Cupcakes

Apple Carrot Cupcakes

Day 3 of 14 Days of Apple and I decided I wanted to make an apple muffin/cupcake. I was looking around at different recipes for inspiration and guidance when I found one I like at MarthaStewart.com. That recipe calls for shredded apples and something about imagining myself taking an apple to a grater made me think of shredded carrots. I still have a scar on my thumb from shredding a carrot a little too aggressively when I was 12, but that’s another story. Anyway, I decided to split the four cups of shredded apples into two cups apples, two cups carrots et voila.

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Sweet Potato-Stuffed Apples

Sweet Potato-Stuffed Apples

Sweet Potato-Stuffed Apples

Day 2 of 14 Days of StreamingApple and I’ve found another amazing recipe in this out-of-print cookbook I’ve got that was published by the Culinary Institute of America in 1999. It’s called Cooking Secrets of the CIA and used copies are available on Amazon. You may remember that during 31 Days of Pumpkin, I cooked a Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake from this book. Well a quick scan for apples yielded this whimsical recipe.

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Apple-Orange-Cranberry Loaf

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Apple-Orange-Cranberry Loaf

Apple-Orange-Cranberry Loaf

We’re back, live, with another food-blogging marathon. This month, we’re streaming APPLES and we’re kicking it off with a scrumptious apple-orange-cranberry loaf. I say “we.” It’s just me – back from an exciting weekend at the Breeders’ Cup down at the Santa Anita race track near Los Angeles. Zenyatta, the filly, came from behind to beat all the boys yesterday. It was a thrill to be there for the historic event, surrounded by the stars of my favorite tv shows, no less. Somebody pinch me. It’s time to wake up and make the donuts. Or the quick bread as the case may be.

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Thanksgiving Video Roundup

I am currently in the process of retooling for my next blog marathon, which will commence next Monday. Last month’s 31 Days of Pumpkin was a great success, so I am inspired to push on with more daily recipe postings around a theme. Tune in Monday to find out what the secret ingredient will be. If you don’t want to miss a single post, make sure to become a fan of StreamingGourmet on facebook or follow me on Twitter.

In the meantime, I want to bring your attention to my other project – StreamingGourmet, the videohosting site devoted to all things culinary. For Thanksgiving, we’ve assembled collections of the best videos from across the web in each of the important categories: Turkey, Stuffing, Sides, Apple (pie+) and Pumpkin (pie+). To embed these collections on your website, click on “embed this” in the lower left hand corner of the collection.

Click on a thumbnail to view the video.

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