Recipes

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bundt Cake with Maple Icing and Candied Pecans

This bundt cake had a lot of steps to it, but it was worth it! I had some pumpkin left over from a pumpkin cheesecake that I made for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, that cheesecake ended up being a bit of a wash because it was underbaked. It would have ended up on the blog as a recipe, but it needs a little more work. I don’t think my family will mind. That just means they get to eat more cheesecake!

In a hurry? Jump down to the recipe here!

The pumpkin cheesecake looked so pretty but the crust was soggy and the middle was more like pudding since it was underbaked. I think it was not just underbaked but had too much moisture in it as well. At least, I learned how to make stabilized whipped cream!

I did decide to go with a cheesecake filling for the pumpkin bundt cake. And this time I made sure it was baked all the way through!

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Creamy Cheesecake with Blueberry Jam Topping

When Josh made his blueberry jam, he asked me if I could make a cheesecake to go with it. I don’t remember the last time I made a cheesecake, but fortunately, I have a favorite recipe.


Creamy Cheesecake with Blueberry Jam Topping


This cheesecake tastes best after sitting in the fridge overnight. Make sure to plan ahead if possible!

Ingredients


Crust:

  • 9 sheets graham crackers
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 3 packages cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2¼ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract

Topping:
½ cup to 1 cup blueberry jam, homemade or storebought


Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper.

Pulse the graham crackers in a food chopper or food processor until they are fine crumbs. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, tablespoon of sugar, and the melted butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the 8 inch springform pan.

Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, then add the sugar mixture to the cream cheese. Beat the sugar mixture into the cream cheese. Add the eggs and beat on low speed just until combined. Add the cream, vanilla, and lemon extract and beat again until just combined. Pour into the refrigerated crust.

Place an 8 in by 10 in baking pan with high sides in the oven on a rack below where the cheesecake will bake. Boil a liter of water in either an electric kettle or in the microwave. Carefully pour the hot water into the baking pan in the oven. This will be your “water bath.”

Place the cheesecake in the oven directly on the rack above the water bath and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cheesecake is set at least 2 inches from the edges. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, then cool for 1 hour more. Your cheesecake top may crack but the blueberry jam topping will cover. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight.

Remove the sides of the pan and transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Top cheesecake with blueberry jam and serve slices with whipped cream.

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Homemade Blueberry Jam

I think Lynn has decided since I successfully made pomegranate jelly twice that I can now make any kind of jelly or jam. One of her favorites that we have bought at two different small stands is blueberry jam.

One of our local grocery stores had blueberries on sale for $.97 for 6 ounces. I was given the instructions to buy blueberries and make a batch of jam with them.

I had a hard time finding a recipe to use to make this jam. Most of the recipes I found were for freezer jams. I saw a few that did not use pectin. I finally decided to use a slightly modified recipe from a book called Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round. It is a great resource for the beginner canner.

First I measured my spices and put them in little bowls. I wanted to make sure I would have everything prepared so I wouldn’t overcook the jam while measuring those things out. Also it reminds me of cooking shows on TV where they always have all the herbs and spices measured out and sitting on the counter.

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Pomegranate Jelly

One of my favorite things that I planted at our house in California was the pomegranate tree. It really liked the weather there and grew quickly. Last year we had just over 50 pomegranates off the tree. We made a variety of things with those to see what they were like; the favorite of everybody though was pomegranate jelly.

I only made six jars of the jelly and they were gone in a couple months. Since we had moved from that house I figured I would not be able to make that jelly again this year.

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Thankfully, my job sent me to the house of an older lady with an overloaded pomegranate tree. Most of the fruit had split already and was attracting bugs. I was able to get several grocery bags full though.

My wife, oldest two sons and I removed the arils from the skin. We got enough to fill a large bowl.

The next step is to remove the juice from the arils. Pomegranates are pretty crunchy because there are a lot of seeds; I don’t like the jelly to be crunchy.

Even though the fruit has a skin I always rinse the insides before using them. Sometimes the skin has little cracks that allow bugs in. I don’t think a gnat or fruit fly floating in the jelly would make my wife happy.

My basic technique to remove the juice is to put some of the arils in the blender, and pulse them until they mostly appear broken.  Then I dump them in a sieve over a large bowl, and push out the juice.

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Sugar Free Root Beer Ice

For July 4th I made Root Beer Ice and Vanilla Ice Cream for the family gathering.  My mom can’t eat sugar, so I wanted to make a sugar free root beer ice to go with the sugar free vanilla ice cream I made for her.  The root beer natural extract that I bought from The Spice House doesn’t contain added sugar which allowed me to make the sugar free version of the root beer ice.

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I used a Stevia blend in place of sugar in the recipe.

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Bring your choice of sugar substitute, water and lemon juice to a boil.  Stir constantly while the sugar substitute dissolves into the water.  Remove the pot from the heat and add in the root beer extract.

The natural extract I have doesn’t have any coloring in it. My attempt at making regular root beer ice with the natural flavor tasted really good, however, I made a mistake when adding food coloring to turn it brown.  I ended up with pink root beer ice.  The color wasn’t horrible, but it did look odd.  Since the sugar free version was the second attempt, I think I got the coloring better.  Just add about equal amounts of red, blue and yellow food color until you get the brown that you desire.

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Then allow the root beer mixture to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  Once chilled, mix in an ice cream maker according to the manufacture instructions.

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I slightly over mixed my since it was a really small batch ( I had halved the recipe).  That caused it to look a bit icy when I scooped it out.  The flavor though, was really good especially for a sugar free recipe.

Sugar Free Root Beer Ice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar substitute
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon natural root beer extract
  • Red, Blue, and Yellow food coloring

Directions

Mix sugar, water and lemon juice in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes. Stir in root beer concentrate.

Add equal amounts red, blue and yellow food coloring to make as brown as desired

Refrigerate 2 hours or until chilled.

 

Pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

-Joshua

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