Slow Cooker Sunday: Pumpkin Cheesecake

I am sneaking in one more pumpkin recipe this season before the Holidays take over… A Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake. This is actually the third cheesecake I’ve made in my slow cooker. Earlier this year I shared with you a Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and a Sour Cream Cheesecake. Out of the three, this one is my favorite. What can I say… I am a fan of Pumpkin. I actually adapted this recipe for a slow cooker as the original one called for it to be made in a pressure cooker. While I do own one, only because it was my parents, I am a bit fearful of using it. I remember my mom always using it to make beans. She preferred using dry beans over can ones to make habichuelas guisada (stewed beans) so she would use the pressure cooker to soften them up before making them in the stew… YUM! Maybe one day I will work up the courage to using it, but, for now, it is perfectly situated on the back of a shelf in my cabinet.

I began by making the crust. In my food processor I pulsed graham crackers into crumbs. I transferred the crumbs to a medium bowl and added in melted butter, cinnamon and sugar and mixed it together until it was well combined. I then pressed the crumbs into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 6-inch springform pan that I sprayed with cooking spray.

Next, I made the filling. I beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth and then added in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, flour, and whipping cream and continued beating until it was well blended. Finally, I added in the eggs and vanilla extract and beat it until just combined. I then poured this into the prepared crust.

I placed a rack in the insert of my slow cooker and then filled it with a 1/2-inch of water (about 2 cups for my 6qt. slow cooker) and then placed the pan on top of the rack. I covered it and cooked it on high for 2 hours. The center should still be a bit wobbly and the rest of the cheesecake set. You don’t want to overbake it. After the 2 hours, I turned off my slow cooker and left it covered so the cheesecake could cool. After the hour, I removed the pan and transferred it to a wire rack so it could cool completely.

After refrigerating it overnight, the following day I enjoyed a slice!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 7 graham crackers)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

Filling:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Spray a 6-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place a rack inside the insert of your slow cooker and fill with a 1/2 inch of water (about 2 cups for a 6qt. slow cooker).

In a medium bowl mix the graham crack crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon and sugar. Press the crumbs in the bottom and slightly up the sides of the springform pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, flour and whipping cream and continue beating until well blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Pour into the prepared crust.

Place the pan onto the rack inside of the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Turn the slow cooker off and keeping the lid on, let the cheesecake cool in the slow cooker for an hour. After the hour, remove the cheesecake and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least four before serving.

Recipe adapted from Dear Crissy

Spice Cupcakes with a Pumpkin Mousse Filling & Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Fall! My favorite time of the year is upon us. Although, while in my kitchen the other day looking in my backyard I noticed that my least favorite part of the season had already begun… the falling leaves. I am not a fan of raking leaves. And since I have quite a few trees in my backyard that are a welcome blessing in the hot summer they become the complete opposite when the cooler temps of the fall roll in. Oh well! In honor of the first full day of fall I am sharing with you cupcakes that tie together the flavors of fall deliciously, a spice cupcake with a pumpkin mousse filling and topped with a cream cheese frosting. I actually made these cupcakes while visiting a close friend in Virginia who happens to enjoy pumpkin spice items as much as I do. We actually text each other different food items we come across in pumpkin spice flavor, come to think of it, we text each other for a lot of out of the ordinary flavors we come across… Especially with Oreos.

I began by baking the cupcakes…

As they were cooling I prepped the pumpkin mousse. Now, I cheated a bit to make the mousse. For most of my cakes I use Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix combined with a cup each of whole milk and heavy cream and beat it until it’s smooth and thick. I’ve done it with vanilla and chocolate flavored Jell-O and I finally tried it with their Pumpkin Spice flavor. You should be seeing it on store shelves soon as fall is right around the corner. I purchased a few boxes last year that haven’t expired yet. Now, the nice thing, you can actually eat this mousse as dessert all by itself, so if you choose to make the entire box of pudding you will have some extra to enjoy. If you don’t want extra, use half the pack and only 1/2 cup each of whole milk and heavy cream. You can also omit filling the cupcakes and just top them with the cream cheese frosting… They will be just as delicious.

Once the cupcakes had cooled I cored the center of the cakes and filled them with the pumpkin mousse and then topped them with a small piece of the removed cupcake.

Next, I whipped up some cream cheese frosting and piped it on top of the cupcakes. Finally, I crumbled some of the cupcake crumbs left over from coring and sprinkled them on top of the cupcakes.

Finally verdict… DELISH! Just might be the perfect cupcake for the fall!

Spice Cupcakes with a Pumpkin Mousse Filling & Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pumpkin Mousse:

1 3.4oz. package of Pumpkin Spice Jell-O Pudding Mix

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 12-cup muffin with liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice and set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the melted butter, both sugars, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, about 1/4 cup in each. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and the transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling make the mousse & frosting.

To make the mousse, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until thick and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract and salt on medium speed until cream. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar on medium-low speed until smooth and then beat on medium-high speed until thick and fluffy. Set aside until ready to use. If not using immediately refrigerate until ready to use. You may need to bring to room temperature before using it.

Core the cupcakes and spoon the mousse to just about level and then top with the removed piece and then frost with frosting.

Recipe from Food Network

Apple Cider Fritters

I love Apple Cider Donuts! I first had them years ago when I went apple picking in upstate NY and now you can find them anywhere and everywhere. The best one’s I’ve had are from Wilklow Orchards in upstate NY and from Wooside Orchards out on the North Fork- their hard cider is good as well. I’ve also had some bad ones, but, we won’t get into that.  I did try to recreate them at home last year, but, it was a fail. I tried again this year, but, instead of donuts I made fritters and they were DELISH! The only problem… It’s easier to mindlessly eat a ridiculous amount of fritters than it is donuts.

Apple Cider Fritters

  • Servings: 24 Fritters
  • Print

Ingredients:

Fritters:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon*

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg*

1/8 teaspoon cardamom*

1/8 teaspoon all spice*

3/4 cup apple cider

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:

1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

*Instead of all 4 spices, you could sub 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice for them

**Can use salted or unsalted, I used unsalted

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and all spice in a large bowl. In another bowl stir together the apple cider, eggs, butter and vanilla. Add the apple cider mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the coating in a shallow bowl.

Pour the oil in a Dutch oven or another heavy bottom deep pot and heat over medium heat to 360 to 370 F. Using a cookie scoop, drop the batter in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

While still warm roll the fritters in the cinnamon sugar and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from My Recipes

Pumpkin Churros

Initially I was planning on making a Pumpkin Spice Latte with some leftover pumpkin puree, but, then I came across a recipe for Baked Pumpkin Churros and I decided that my puree would be put to better use making them.

The batter came together quickly – less than fifteen minutes – and it was easy to pipe it on a parchment lined baking sheet to pop in the oven. While I didn’t try it, I am sure you could fry these if you want a more traditional churro, the downfall of that of course is that frying them means they won’t keep as well as baking them.

Once baked I sprayed them with cooking spray and rolled them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture to give them the traditional churros coating.

And finally I made hot fudge for dipping… YUM!

Baked Pumpkin Churros

Ingredients:

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

6 tablespoons butter, sliced into 1 tablespoon pieces

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

Cooking spray, to spray baked churros

Hot fudge sauce, for serving (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lay 2 same-sized baking sheets on top of one another and line the top sheet with parchment paper. Using 2 baking sheets will prevent the bottom of the churros from burning.

In a medium saucepan combine the water, pumpkin, butter, brown sugar, 1 tsp. of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the mixture boils.

Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla extract and flour and stir with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together and forms a smooth dough.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and let it rest for 2 minutes.

On low speed add in one egg and mix until well combined, increasing the speed if necessary. Repeat with the second egg.

Transfer the dough to a large piping bag with a large star tip (I used a Wilton 6B tip).

Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. I ended up piping churros that were about 4 to 5 inches in length. You could pipe them smaller or larger.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 – 35 minutes. The length of time will depend on the tip used and the length of your churros.

In a shallow dish combine the sugar and remaining cinnamon.

Once out of the oven, spray the churros with the cooking spray (top and bottom) and roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer to a wire rack. Eat them alone or with hot fudge sauce.

Recipe from Cooking Classy

 

Hot Fudge Sauce*

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 stick unsalted butter**, cut into pieces

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder.

Whisk in the cream, then turn the heat to medium and continue whisking as the mixture warms up.

Once the mixture is warm add the butter and stir to melt.

Once hot, add the vanilla and stir to combine.

Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a heat-proof container.

Store in the refrigerator. It will become solid as it cools. When using, just spoon out your desired amount and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir and then heat for an additional 10 seconds or until your desired temperature.

*This recipe can easily be halved

**The original recipe called for salted butter

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu

I was on the fence with this dessert when I first tried it and I still am. I liked the custard part, but, I think the gingersnap cookies may have thrown off the flavor a bit, but, if you are a gingersnap cookie and pumpkin fan than this is the dessert for you. If you want more of a traditional tiramisu with a pumpkin flavor, check out the pumpkin tiramisu I posted last year.

After making the pumpkin custard I layered gingersnaps in a single layer in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. I then brushed them with apple brandy that I warmed with sugar and finally I spread a third of the custard over the cookie.

I repeated this layering two more times….

And on the final layer of custard I topped it with crushed gingersnap cookies.

I then covered the dish with wax and aluminum paper and refrigerated it overnight and before slicing it the next day I topped it with more crushed gingersnap cookies.

A few things I should mention. I slightly modified this recipe from the original by omitting gelatin in the custard and refrigerated my tiramisu as opposed to putting it in the freezer. I am sure that the gelatin would have resulted in cleaner slices, but, I just didn’t like the texture I was imagining that would result from the gelatin. And, the reason why I didn’t freeze it is that the directions said to let the tiramisu thaw for 6 hours before slicing. It just didn’t make sense to let it thaw for so long after freezing it to cut it.

 

Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu

Ingredients:

6 large egg yolks

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 quart whole milk

1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pound (2 cups) mascarpone

3 tablespoons apple brandy

1 1/4 pounds gingersnaps, 1/4 pound finely crushed

 

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk the yolks, cornstarch, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar together until the sugar is moistened.

In a large saucepan, heat the milk until it just begins to steam. Whisk 1 cup of the milk into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Pour the mixture into the milk in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until boiling and thick, about 5 minutes. Then whisk in the pumpkin puree and cook, whisking for an additional minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and cinnamon and finally whisk in the mascarpone.

In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave the brandy and 1 tablespoon of sugar at high power for 10 seconds. Just until the sugar is dissolved.

Arrange one-third of the gingersnaps in a single layer in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Lightly brush the cookies with some of the apple brandy and then spread a third of the pumpkin custard over the cookies. Repeat this layering two more times and then top the final layer of custard with half of the crushed gingersnaps. Cover the dish with wax paper and aluminum paper and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Before slicing sprinkle with the remaining crushed gingersnaps.

Recipe modified from Food & Wine

Pumpkin Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

So, what happens when you bake a cake late at night and then frost it early the next morning? You don’t take pictures! But, that’s okay. I don’t need pictures to tell you how delicious this cake is. I do have this lovely final picture though…

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With Thanksgiving this week this Pumpkin Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting is my final pumpkin dessert of the season. I can’t say it’s the best as that title goes to the Pumpkin Tiramisu I posted about last month, but, it’s definitely a close second, and I am sure would be a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table. I actually made it for a Friendsgiving celebration I had with some wonderful friends last weekend. If you’ve never had your own Friendsgiving celebration I strongly advise you to have one next year. There’s absolutely no drama and you get to spend some time with people who are just as important or in some cases more important to you than your own family!

Here are some quick notes about this cake though… Definitely go with the freshly grated nutmeg and don’t try to substitute ground ginger for the freshly grated ginger, trust me, these two things make a huge difference in the flavor. I speak from experience. Make your own buttermilk by combining vinegar (or lemon juice) and milk (for this cake, I used 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1/2 cup 2% milk to make the buttermilk.) And finally, if you’re not a fan of goat cheese go with a simple cream cheese frosting. You can never go wrong with cream cheese frosting.

So, however you’re spending your Thanksgiving I hope it’s one with delicious food, sweet desserts and great company. And remember, no matter what has happened in life there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for!

 

Pumpkin Cake

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups light-brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups solid-pack pumpkin

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1/2 cup buttermilk*

*To make your own combine 1/2 tablespoon vinegar (or lemon juice) with 1/2 cup milk – I used 2%. Let stand for 5-10 minutes at room temperature. When the milk is ready it will have thickened and you will see small curdled bits.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prep two 8-inch round pans, either by spraying them with baking spray (what I did) or brush the pans with butter, line the bottoms with parchment paper, butter the parchment paper then dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

With an electric mixer (or stand mixer) beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Then beat in the pumpkin and finally the vanilla and ginger. Reduce the speed to medium and add the flour in the batches alternating with 2 batches of the buttermilk, beating until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are golden brown, the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tested comes out clean, about 30 -35 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto the racks to cool completely.

Place the bottom layer of the cake on a cake stand (or board) and spread half of your desired frosting evenly over the cake. Top with the second layer and evenly spread the remaining frosting over the cake.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

 

Goat Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 pound (2 – 8oz bars) cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces soft goat cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Beat cheese until combined, then gradually add sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Quick & Easy Apple Tarts

Do you sometimes want an apple pie, but, you don’t really want to go through all the trouble to make one? Even if you are using a store-bought crust – I have no qualms in saying that’s usually my go-to way of “making” pie crust – it can still be a bit time and labor consuming. So, if you are ever feeling like that or you are feeling like that right now I have the remedy for you. A pair of Apple Tarts that take just about an hour to make – that includes prep and bake time – and only requires six ingredients!

To begin thaw out a puff pastry sheet for about 20-30 minutes. You don’t want it to become warm and mushy, but, you also don’t want it to be partially frozen. Once you are able to unfold it, it’s ready to be used. Slice it in half – a pizza cutter works best – and place both pieces on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

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While the puff pastry is defrosting make your apple filling. Core three apples…

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Then thinly slice them. It’s important to slice the apples as thin as possible this way they will cook (i.e. soften) during the short baking time.

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Next add in lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Let the apples sit until the puff pastry is ready to be filled.

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Once the puff pastry is ready and you have sliced it in half arrange the apples in a single line.

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Bake in a 415 F preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until the pastry has puffed and is lightly golden.

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Remove the tarts from the pan and transfer them to a cutting board to cool.

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Or, immediately cut off a piece and enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. There’s nothing like a warm apple treat with a scoop of ice cream on top of it.

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Overall these were incredibly easy to make and wonderfully delicious, but, there’s one thing I think I would change when I make these again… I’ll peel the apples this way it’ll be easier to take a bit out of them. The peel holds you back a little from taking clean bites… At least it does for me.

Baked Apple Tarts

Ingredients:

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed and cut in half

3 apples, cored and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of lemon juice (approximately juice from half a lemon)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 415 F.

While the puff pastry is thawing prepare the apple filling by coring and slicing the apples then tossing them with the lemon juice, sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Once the puff pastry has thawed slice it half and place it on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Arrange the apples on the puff pastry in a thin overlapping line.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until the pastry is lightly golden and puffed. Transfer the tarts to a cutting board or serving platter immediately.

Recipe slightly modified from The Pioneer Woman