Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

Cheesecake of the Month — October 2018!

October 15, 2018

I was recently challenged by a colleague to attempt a “vegan” cheesecake.  Before I could do any research myself, another colleague had forwarded me a recipe for a quick and easy vegan cheesecake (courtesy of Vegangela).  Vegangela further referenced a recipe by Allyson Kramer that was gluten-free as well as vegan.

I adapted Allyson’s recipe a bit by substituting ground pecans for the almonds, and blueberry preserves for the blackberry topping . . . but, this “base” vegan cheesecake recipe could prove to be a keeper that just gets adjusted as I try new flavors.  Yum!

This recipe is super easy, and, it requires no baking!

Fun Fact Friday, Number Eighty-Two!

June 29, 2018

Today’s real facts (courtesy of http://www.snapple.com) are all about the cherry.  Did you know that . . .

  • at one point in time, serving ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas was prohibited?  (Real Fact #1285)
  • Traverse City, Michigan, considers itself the Cherry Capitol of the World? (Real Fact #1296) NOTE: the National Cherry Festival 2018 begins tomorrow!
  • January 3rd is National Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day?  (Real Fact #1298)
  • the word “cherry” comes from the Turkish town of Cerasus?  (Real Fact #1300)
  • a cherry pie is made of about 200 cherries?  (Real Fact #1301)
  • Eau Claire, Michigan, is known as the Cherry-Spitting Capitol of the World?  (Real Fact #1302)

Source: http://www.snapple.com/real-facts

Fun Fact Friday, Number Seventy-Eight!

June 1, 2018

Today’s real facts (courtesy of http://www.snapple.com) are all about strawberries.  Did you know that . . .

  • strawberries contain more vitamin C than oranges? (Real Fact #64)
  • strawberries are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside?  (Real Fact #136)
  • there is a museum of strawberries in Belgium? (Real Fact #716)
  • strawberries have an average of 200 seeds? (Real Fact #718)
  • a strawberry is not actually a berry (but a banana is)?  (Real Fact #719)
  • a lemon contains more sugar than a strawberry? (Real Fact #845)
  • strawberries are grown in every state in the U.S. and every province in Canada?  (Real Fact #1016)

Source: http://www.snapple.com/real-facts

Cheesecake of the Month – April 2018!

April 15, 2018

Here is a new flavor that I recently discovered that is simply superb!  I have made it a couple of times already.  If you like the tartness of a Key Lime cheesecake, then this Limoncello cheesecake is sure to please you as well.

Limoncello Cheesecake

Ingredients
— for the crust
2-1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup of sugar
6 Tablespoons of melted butter
— for the filling
3 (8-ounce packages) of cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1-1/3 cups of sugar
3 Tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of grated lemon rind/zest
— for the sour cream topping
1 pint of sour cream
3 Tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
— for the glaze
1/2 cup of sugar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1/2 cup of Limoncello
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
a touch of lemon paste (for color)

Directions
1.  Combine the graham crumbs, sugar and butter.  Press firmly onto the bottom and up the sides of an 11-12 inch springform pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.  Cool before adding the filling.

2.  Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer at high speed until completely smooth.

3.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.

4.  Continue to beat, gradually adding the 1-/3 cups of sugar, then lemon juice and vanilla.

5.  Stir in the lemon rind.

6. Pour into the cooled crust and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (you may have to adjust the baking time if you use a smaller diameter pan).

7.  Blend the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract for the topping.

8.  Remove the cake from the oven and gently spread the sour cream mixture over the top.  Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes.

9.  Cool on a rack for 30 minutes then refrigerate until the topping is cool but not completely chilled (about 15 minutes).

10.  Make the glaze by combining the sugar and the cornstarch.  Blend in the Limoncello and lemon juice until smooth. j Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Cook three minutes.  Chill until the mixture is cool but not set (15-20 minutes).

11. Spread the glaze over the top of the cheesecake.  Chill several hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

Cheesecake of the Month – September 2017!

September 16, 2017

Having several “cheesecake-recipe-specific” cookbooks in my kitchen, I generally don’t have to hunt too hard for ideas.  But every now and then I will run across a new recipe that I had never before encountered.  This month’s recipe is one of these new discoveries (courtesy of Karen Barker in Baking from the Heart by Michael J. Rosen).  Yum!

Brown Sugar Cheesecake (with a bourbon-peach sauce)

Crust ingredients
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of finely ground pecans
2 Tablespoons of sugar
2 Tablespoons of butter, melted

Filling ingredients
3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup of light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons of molasses
1 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

Directions
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8-inch springform pan and wrap the pan in aluminum foil.

2.  For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl.  Press this mixture onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of your springform pan.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown before removing to a rack and cooling completely.

3.  For the cheesecake, in a large bowl, combine the cream cheese  and brown sugar and mix until smooth (2-3 minutes).  Add the molasses, sour cream, and vanilla and mix until just combined.

4.  Add half of the egg mixture and mix until just incorporated then repeat with the other half of the egg mixture.

5.  Pour the batter into your prepared pan and place it in a shallow roasting pan.  Place the roasting pan on the lowest rack of the oven and create a water bath by adding water until the cheesecake pan is half immersed.

6.  Bake for 1 hour then lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  The cheesecake should be set and puffed up around the edges while the center will retain a slight jiggle.  Remove the cheesecake pan from the water bath and allow to cool completely on a rack.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

7.  Remove from the pan and serve with the bourbon-peach sauce

Bourbon Peach Sauce

8 ripe medium-sized peaches
1/4 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup of bourbon
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.  Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.  Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  Using a small paring knife, draw a long shallow “x” across the skin of each peach.  Gently place the scored peaches into the saucepan and blanch for 30-40 seconds.  Using a strainer, remove the peaches from the water and plunge them into the ice bath for a few minutes.

2.  Peel the peaches, halve them, and discard the pit.  Slice each peach into several thick wedges.

3.  Ina medium non-reactive  saucepan, combine the peaches, sugar, lemon juice, bourbon, and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until the peaches are very soft and the liquid has become syrupy.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

4.  Cool the peach mixture and the puree in a blender.  Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer.  Taste the sauce and add sugar or lemon juice to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Source: Baking from the Heart by Michael J. Rosen, p. 111

Fun Fact Friday, Number Thirty-Two!

July 14, 2017

They say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” . . . but were you aware that . . .

  • smelling apples (and/or bananas) can help you lose weight? (Real Fact #109)
  • each year the average American eats about fifteen pounds of apples? (Real Fact #273)
  • apples are a member of the rose family? (Real Fact #422)
  • fresh apples float because about 25% of their volume is air?  (Real Fact #720)
  • in ancient Greece, throwing an apple to a woman was considered a marriage proposal? (Real Fact #816)

Source: https://www.snapple.com/real-facts

Fun Fact Friday, Number Twenty-Eight!

June 16, 2017

Today’s real facts (courtesy of http://www.snapple.com) are all about mangoes.  Did you know that . . .

  • mangoes are the most-consumed fruit in the world? (Real Fact #717)
  • mangoes have noses? (Real Fact #1415)
  • mangoes can get sunburned?  (Real Fact #1416)

And were you aware that . . .

  • the paisley pattern, which originated in India, is based on the shape of a mango?
  • mangoes are related to cashews and pistachios?
  • a mango tree can grow as tall as 100 feet?

Source: http://www.snapple.com/real-facts

Cheesecake of the Month – June 2017!

June 15, 2017

This month’s recipe is an adaptation of one that uses a 13×9 pan instead of a springform pan (cheesecake “bars” instead of “cake”).  I’m guessing the only thing that I may have to adjust is the cooking time, but this one sounds positively delicious and I can’t wait to give it a try.

Banana and Coconut Cheesecake

Ingredients
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup of sugar
1/c cup of butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounce) of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
1 carton (8 ounce) sour cream
2 Tablespoons of white creme de cacao
2 Tablespoons of rum
1-1/2 cups of flaked coconut

Dirctions
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Stir in the melted butter.  Press this mixture onto the bottom of your springform pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, 3/4 cup of sugar, and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.  Add the eggs all at once; beat on low speed just until combined.  Stir in the banana and pour into your prepared pan.

3. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until the center is set.  Meanwhile, for the topping: in a small bowl combine the sour cream, creme de cacao, and runm.  Spread over the top of the cheesecake after it is finished baking and then bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack before moving to the refrigerator to cool completely (4 to 24 hours).  To serve, sprinkle the cheesecake with toasted coconut .

Fun Fact Friday, Number Sixteen!

March 24, 2017

Well that’s just peachy!  Today’s unique facts will center on peaches.  Were you aware that peaches were . . .

  • members of the almond family (Real Fact #21)? — hmm, their pits do look a bit like almonds?
  • also members of the rose family, along with apples and raspberries (Real Fact #422)?
  • the first fruit to be eaten on the moon (Real Fact #722)?

In addition, did you know that . . .

  • the game of basketball (as we enter NCAA March Madness) was first played using a soccer ball and two peach baskets (Real Fact #221)?
  • the phrase “you’re a real peach” originated from the tradition of giving peaches to loved ones (Real Fact #1017)?
  • George Washington was a successful liquor distributor, making rye whiskey, apple brandy, and peach brandy in his Mount Vernon distillery (Real Fact #1140)?

Source: https://www.snapple.com/real-facts

Cheesecake of the Month – February 2017!

February 15, 2017

I was perusing Pinterest the other day and ran across a recipe that sounded positively wonderful.  It is technically a pie, but a pie that incorporates a bit of cheesecake into the recipe.  I can’t wait to try it.

Upside Down Cheesecake Apple Pie

Ingredients
2 pie crusts
2 packages (8-ounce each) of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
6 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/2 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of flour
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce (garnish)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a pie pan with a pie crust.

2.  Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until fluffy.  Add in the eggs and the milk and mix until combined.  Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

3.  In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Place the apples on top of the cream cheese mixture.

4. Top the apples with your second pie crust, turning the crust inward.  Cut a few small slits into the top of the pie.

5.  Place the pie on a cookie sheet, cover loosely with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the apples are soft.  Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

6.  Place a large plate over the top of the pie and flip it upside down onto the plate.  Cool for one hour  then refrigerate at least four hours.  Serve cold with caramel sauce.

Source: Recipe by Spend with Pennies at http://www.spendwithpennies.com/upside-down-cheesecake-apple-pie/