Can anyone else believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner? I, feel like, we were just toasting the new year together. Time does fly, so that must mean, we have all been having fun! I know I have been having a great time with the talent from Summer and Fall Fest. I love the challenge of coming up with a new recipe using seasonal and at times new ingredients. As well I gather so much inspiration from my fellow food blogging colleagues. I give thanks for that!! Today we are inviting everyone to pull up a chair to Thanksgiving Communal Table.
I am going to share a wee secret with you all. I am kind of in denial about the holidays this year. So much so, that I feel like I may wake up and they will be gone. We had hoped to entertain at our newish house, for at least Thanksgiving; but, with last minute work projects filling up the remaining of 2012, we opted out. Don’t worry, we will not be hungry. The next best thing came up, an invite from some very dear friends, friends who are like family. We were just talking today about how excited we are to be spending the day with them and their loved ones. Not only will the food be wonderful but the warmth of love with be welcomed with open arms.
Since we will be bringing an appetizer and a side dish to dinner next week, I decided to share a pumpkin cheesecake with chocolate swirls at the Thanksgiving Communal Table. The logically thing would have been to share with you, what I am bringing to dinner, but I have been fighting with a mad craving for cheesecake recently. I have a feeling it is because of my Pinterest addiction and all the time I have spent drooling all over the cheesecake over there. Have you seen it? Anyhow, I caved in and baked us some sinful cheesecake bars, for no reason at all.
I normally bake cheesecake bars with a gingersnap crust and maple swirls, which is heavenly. This time I wanted to add chocolate, deep-dark, bittersweet chocolate. While I was at it, I changed the crust and made a simple vanilla bean paste cookie crust – it was luscious. I was a bit pressed on time so in stead of using homemade pumpkin puree, I did use canned. I know. I know. I was able to find an organic and unseasoned pumpkin puree which worked perfectly with this recipe, and I am happy to use again when in a pinch. The cheesecake bars turned out perfectly. The mild sweetness of the pumpkin went perfectly with dark chocolate. So perfectly, it was almost a sin to be enjoying them on a Tuesday. In fact, I am almost certain, if you serve these next week (or even tomorrow) you will have a happy table full of eaters.
** Be sure to visit the Food Network Fall Fest bloggers to see what other delicious dishes were brought to the Thanksgiving Communal Table; you may be inspired to add some dishes to your menu! Next week we will be back enjoying Fall Fest and our favorite (produce related) Thanksgiving sides.
Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:
Haute Apple Pie: Apple Jack
Cooking With Books: Spiced Couscous and Walnut Salad
Mooshu Jenne: Honey Bacon Potato Pops
Food For My Family: Roasted Beet and Lacinato Kale Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Super Seeded Cornbread
FN Dish: Black Pepper-Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey
Feed Me Phoebe: Cornbread and Wild Rice Stuffing With Hazelnuts and Cranberries
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chorizo, Cornbread and Tortilla Dressing
Sweet Life: Apple Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
And Love It, Too: Paleo Green Bean Casserole
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Sweet Spiced Winter Squash Casserole
Red or Green?: Corn, Peppers and Onion Saute
Simple Bites: Honey Pomegranate Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Virtually Homemade: Fresh Orange and Cranberry Sauce With Toasted Walnuts
What’s Gaby Cooking: Sweet Potato Gratin (pictured above)
The Heritage Cook: Cauliflower Gratin
Creative Culinary: Creamy Mushroom Bake With Parmesan and Panko
Bacon and Souffle: Spicy Carnival Squash
Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Swirls
Crust ** inspired by Saveur
- 1 cup ap flour
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk. beaten
- 20 ounces of whole fat (delicious) cream cheese
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 3 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350.
Make the crust:
- Melt 2 tablespoon of butter.
- Line bottom and two of the sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhand on two sides.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the bottom and sides of the pan with the melted butter.
- In a food processor, you will make the crust by adding the dry ingredients. Pulse.
- With the food processor running, add a cube of butter at a time until crumbly.
- Add the vanilla bean paste. Pulse.
- With the processor running add the beaten egg and mix until it comes together; about 2 minutes.
- Press onto the bottom of the buttered baking pan.
- Place in the fridge for at least an hour.
Make the filling:
- In a mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, salt, flour and sugar. Mix until combined; about 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.
- Add the vanilla extract.
- Place 3/4 of the mixture into a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- Add the pumpkin puree to the remaining batter in the mixing bowl. Mix until combined, about 1 minute.
- Do not over mix or the cheesecake will crack.
- Melt the chocolate and let cool for a 2 minutes.
- Mix the chocolate with the plain cheesecake mixture, that is in the separate mixing bowl.
Assembling and Baking:
- Pour the pumpkin mixture into the baking pan.
- Place dollops of the chocolate mixture over the top of the pumpkin mixture.
- Using a toothpick or knife tip, make swirls.
- Bake until the cheesecake is set, about 45 minutes. It will jiggle slightly when gently shaken.
- Cool in the pan at room temperature.
- Then chill in the refrigerator over night, in the same pan.
- With a sharp knife, cut into squares.