Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2003

Serves 12 to 14

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounce), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)

Garnish: pecan halves

Make crust: Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.

Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

Karen’s note: I modified this cheesecake recipe (2/3 portions and modified cooking time for minis) and then loosely followed this for the topping:

Topping
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy cream and a splash of bourbon
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, or a little less of a coarse salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

3/4 cup (85 grams) pecans (I coarsely chopped 1/2 cup, left the last 1/4 cup in halves)

In a small/medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, cream and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and bubbly, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans.

West African Peanut Stew

West African Peanut Soup

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch collard greens (or red chard), ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • ¾ cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • Hot sauce, like sriracha, to taste
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
  1. In a medium Dutch oven or stock pot. Sautee onion for 10 minutes until transluscent.
  2. Add ginger, garlic and salt; continue to sautee for 1 minute.
  3. Add chopped sweet potato and sautee for 1 minute.
  4. Pour in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, tomato paste. Whisk together the spices in a separate bowl, then stir into the mixture. Scrape up all the crunchy brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Uncover the soup and add peanut butter; whisk until smooth. Stir in the collard greens and season the soup with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Serve over cooked brown rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.

Mexican Beer Braised Chicken Chilaquiles

Oh my god, this is the best thing I’ve ever made.

Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos RecipeSlow Cooker Braised Chicken Tacos

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound boned, skinned chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup Mexican beer (I use Negra Modelo)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 chipotle chile
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise

1. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven and cook until chicken is lightly golden but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from Dutch oven and set aside.

2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until slightly translucent, about 2 minutes. Add cumin, chile powder and garlic, and let cook another 2 minutes.

3. Add chicken broth to the skillet, scraping the browned onion off the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and pour mixture into slow cooker. Add the chicken, beer, tomato paste, chipotle chile, cinnamon stick and star anise.

4. Cook on high for 3 hours. Uncover, break chicken apart with a fork, then cover and cook 1 hour more.

5. Put the dutch oven to simmer on the stove until liquid has been reduced to taste. When ready to serve, scramble eggs with a handful of broken tortilla chips. Spoon the chicken on top of scrambled eggs. Serve with side of avocado and cotija cheese.