Apple Crisp Cheesecake

20171224_130127.jpg

**sorry about the spacing and formatting, it won’t seem to correct!  I’ve tried everything I know!**

This one is a little late.  I made this Apple Crisp Cheesecake at Christmas….10 months ago! Better late than never, right?

I am trying to get caught up on some of the baking I’ve done over the last while.  Honestly, I can’t say why I haven’t been posting.  I miss it!

Waaaay back in December, I was asked to bring dessert to Christmas Eve dinner.  I knew I was not going to be having any, so I made an extra effort to make something that would not tempt me, even a little.

I found this cheesecake that had rave reviews from Kraft Canada’s What’s Cooking.

Usually I make a cheesecake and an apple crisp for dessert, this year I put them together!

Apple Crisp Cheesecake

Adapted from Kraft Canada, What’s Cooking

 

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, chopped

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup large flake rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, melted, divided
1-1/4 cups graham crumbs
3 pkg. (250 g each) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. caramel sauce
Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350ºF. and start boiling water for water bath (if using)
2. Cook apples, cinnamon and 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar in saucepan on medium heat 6 min. or until apples are tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
20171223_103217.jpg
* again out of practice – forgot most of the pictures…
3. Mix flour, brown sugar, oats and half the butter until blended; spread onto rimmed baking sheet. Bake 8 min. or until lightly browned.
4. Meanwhile, mix graham crumbs and remaining butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. – also a good time to double wrap your pan with foil if you are using a water bath
20171223_102707.jpg
5. Top with apple mixture, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge.
20171223_105553.jpg
6. Beat cream cheese and remaining granulated sugar with mixer until blended.
20171223_104855.jpg
7. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended.  Add cream and vanilla (these were my additions as I used my cheesecake recipe.
20171223_105347.jpg
8. Pour over apple mixture.
9. Bake 35 to 40 min. or until centre is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hours. Top with streusel and caramel sauce just before serving.
20171224_130123.jpg
This was an absolute out of the ball park home run!  Everyone loved it!  I have not had many complaints about  my cheesecakes, but they seemed to really go on about this one.  The crunch of the topping with the creamy texture of the cheesecake and filling was perfect.  Apparently, wasn’t too sweet.  All I can say was…. it smelt amazing!
20171224_202705.jpg

 

Advertisements

Pumpkin Cheesecake

20181007_081225.jpg

Thanksgiving in Canada is such a beautiful time of year.   The leaves are changing to vibrant fall colours.  The temperature is dropping, I love breathing in the cool crisp air.   It is also a wonderful time for baking!  This time of year I love baking with apples, cinnamon and, yes of course, pumpkin!

I have mentioned in the past, I am not a huge fan of pumpkin.   I despise pumpkin pie, it’s the texture that gets me.  I do like pumpkin cakes, especially the one I made a few years ago,  check it out here.  Also pumpkin donuts,  loaves, pancakes etc.

This year for Thanksgiving when asked to bring dessert no one would tell me what they wanted!  I am still off of sugar, so I could not have cared less what it was. That sounds terrible, but it is hard to ‘guess’ what people might like.  I used to just bake what I wanted  and hope for the best!

In sticking with the Thanksgiving,  fall season,  I went with pumpkin cheesecake.   I had absolutely zero interest in it…it’s right up there with pumpkin pie!

**several pictures are missing.  I am out of blogging practice and forgot to take pictures of some steps!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:
1 1 /4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

3. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan

20151222_175159

4. Bake for approx. 8 mins, remove from oven and let cool as you prepare cheesecake filling

Cheesecake:
3 blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin pure
spice to your preference (pumpkin pie spice, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg)

Directions:

1. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer and cream together until smooth

IMG_6869

2. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg.

IMG_6872

3. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

IMG_6879.JPG

4. Add spices and pumpkin – stir to combine

20171006_193405.jpg

5. Add to your prepared, cooled crust

20181006_191038.jpg

** here is where many people differ in their opinions.  I prefer and swear by cooking my cheesecakes in a water bath.  Others don’t feel it is necessary.  I like the even cooking, smooth top, less chance of cracking and the top never dries out.  Also, it cools slowly and continues to cook.  I wouldn’t do it any other way.

6. If you choose to use a water bath (Highly recommended!) double wrap your pan in foil and leave an edge.  This will prevent the condensation from dripping between the foil and the pan, which will result in a wet, soggy crust!  Fill your roasting pan with enough hot water to come, approx, half way up the pan.

If you are not using a water bath, just fire it in the oven!

7. Bake for about 1 hour 20 mins, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Perfection!

20181007_080754.jpg

The next day… remove from pan… a thing of beauty!

20181007_081126.jpg

I also made some homemade whipping cream to top, if people wished.

20181007_195243.jpg

It was a huge hit!  Everyone loved it!  Rave reviews about the crust, adding the cinnamon really made the difference.

I had more than one request for this one to be made again.  If you are looking for a simple dessert to please a crowd, this is it!

Basketball Cake

 

20181006_112337.jpg

I was asked to make a Confetti Basketball cake for a 10th Birthday.  This one turned out pretty good!

Plumeria Flowers Cake

 

20180929_081125

I was asked to make a cake for a 75th birthday party.   They asked for a chocolate later cake with plumeria flowers.   I am not much of a horticulturist, if it’s not a rose, tulip sunflower or a few ofhers, I am clueless!

I went searching and decided these would be doable.   They initially asked the flowers be made iut of icing.  I tried many times, but had to go with gumpaste.

I was fairly happy with how they came out, for a first attempt!

 

Lemon & Cranberry Scones

20180817_151414

Good heavens, I have not baked in months, and I am back already!

My Mom’s had a rough go for the last while, but is on the mend!  The woman never asks for anything, ever! When she requested some Lemon & Cranberry Scones I got in the kitchen real fast!  Her kitchen, I might add, so the lighting is horrible!

This is another repeat, you can see the original version here, but it’s been years and it could use an update.

My ‘go to’ scone recipe is from Ina Garten. Check out her original recipe. She makes some amazing desserts.  I’ve yet to be disappointed with anything I’ve tried of her’s.  I’m guessing it’s the insane amount of butter she uses.  Mmmmm!

I halved the recipe, and made the other half plain…coming soon

Lemon & Cranberry Scones

4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest*
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice*

*I am a lemon freak, so I added a lot more lemon then recipe called for

Directions

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest.

 

 

2. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas.

 

3. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture.

20180817_135231

Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy!

20180817_135938_004.jpg

4. Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

20180817_140108

5. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface

20180817_140235.jpg

6. Knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and press the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Cut the dough into desired shapes or use a cookie cutter

20180817_140408

7. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash

20180817_140850

8. Sprinkle with sugar

20180817_141004

9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch.

20180817_144232

10. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

Glaze

Combine icing sugar and lemon juice and whisk until smooth

20180817_150736

20180817_151140

20180817_151156.jpg

These scones are always a huge hit!  Mom was thrilled.  The house had an amazing aroma of lemon and a few smiling faces.  Everyone said they were delicious!

20180817_151540

If you are looking for a scone recipe, this is a must try!  It is very versatile and works with many different flavour profiles.

Turtle Cheesecake

20180811_091122

I baked! It was fantastic!!

It has been forever and a day since I have baked anything, other than the cakes I post, and the holiday cheesecakes which I will also post, soon!

I will give a brief explanation. For the last 14 months I have been off sugar…(quickly ducking and arms are up in fear of what will be virtually thrown at me, as well as avoiding those darting eyes). I know, I know…how can someone who bakes and eats as much sugar as I did, stop eating sugar? I’m not here to preach, recruit or pass judgment. It’s what is right for me right now. So, I have not been baking, just to bake. Let me tell you, I miss baking immensely!!

Anyway, back to why I am here. I was asked to make a Turtle Cheesecake. My Aunt’s Dad turned 80 and he LOVES my cheesecakes. Whenever he comes to holiday dinners, I get a big hug with the quick ‘Merry Christmas’ or happy Thanksgiving’ followed with a very serious…’what’s for dessert, what kind of cheesecake did you make??’ I admit, I don’t do a whole lot well, but dammit, I make an amazing cheesecake!! I have posted about Turtle Cheesecake years ago (check them out here and here), but I has been a while and well, it miss doing this!

**there are pictures missing for some of the steps, it’s been a while…I forgot to take a few.  I think I was just so excited to bake, I got a little to wrapped up in it! Bare with me while I ease back into this**

Turtle Cheesecake

Crust

1 1/4 cups Chocolate Cookie Crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tbsp sugar

1. Melt butter and add cookie crumbs and sugar. Combine well

2. Press mixture into the bottom of your cheesecake/spring form pan.  I like mine to come up the sides a bit.

20180809_200430

3. Bake at 350ºF for about 8 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool

Caramel Layer

I cheated a little here.  Normally I would make my own caramel sauce.  Unfortunately, things were a bit hectic and I was short on time.

Melt caramels with some heavy whipping cream over a double boiler (I did not count, I did not measure – told you I was out of practice!) Set aside to cool slightly

20180809_195948

Cheesecake Filling

*this recipe is what I started with, but I don’t share my additions/Changes.  A girl can’t give away all her secrets*

3 sticks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

Additions for this flavour

8oz semi sweet chocolate
6oz white chocolate
caramel – homemade or other
extra cream
pecans

 

Before starting the batter, melt your chocolate slowly over a double boiler.  Allow it to cool while preparing the rest.  Warm chocolate and cold batter does not mix well. I learned this the hard way.  (White chocolate not pictured)

IMG_7310IMG_7313

 

1. Preheat oven to 350º F  and Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth.

20180809_201116

3.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg.

20180809_201357

4. Add heavy cream, vanilla and blend until smooth and creamy. Do not over mix!

20180809_201618

5. Divide your batter between the 2 melted and cooled chocolates.  Put a little less in the white chocolate.

20180809_202145.jpg

It will take a bit of stirring, and you will think it is never going to combine.  Be patient, good things take time.  Look at that, it is a thing of beauty!  It will be the same with blending the white chocolate…again, no pictures

20180809_202511

Assembly time

6. Pour the cooled caramel over your prepared cookie crust

20180809_201714

7. Layer as many pecans as you like – It’s about now that I started drowning in my own saliva

20180809_202003

Side note – I cook all my cheesecakes in a water bath.  This is totally optional.  I believe it makes for a better cheesecake, it bakes more evenly and much less risk of cracking.  The only important thing to remember is to wrap your pan!  Soggy cheesecake is not great.  I wrap my pan with heavy-duty/wide foil (Dollar Store stuff is just fine).  Make sure to bring it up the sides and have a bit of a lip.  Don’t wrap it over the pan, it will condensate and drip in.  This way it drips back into the water.  Again, learned this the hard way.

8. Layer your batter, I started with white chocolate to contrast the cookie crust

20180809_203104

Epic fail on the layering!! Not sure what happened…

20180809_203237

So… Chocolate swirl it is!!

20180809_203335

9. Place your foil lined pan in a larger roasting pan and add boiling water about half way up the side of your pan

20180809_203416

10. Bake on the lowest rack for approx 1 hour 20 minutes (this time will vary depending on what kind of cheesecake you are making).  I honestly do not bake according to time, it fails me ever time.  I need to see and feel it.

Deciding when it is done can be tricky. You don’t want an over or under baked cheesecake. (My worst fear is that when someone buys a cheesecake, when they cut into it there will be a soupy inside, leaking all over their table!)  You are looking for the cake to be still jiggle when you shake the pan, like Jello.  At this point close the door, turn off the oven and leave it for an hour.  It will continue to cook as it slowly cools.  After at least an hour, remove from oven and water bath and let it cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge, to chill over night

20180810_071644

The next day I decorated it up a bit.  Topping it with more pecan, caramel and chocolate.

20180811_091010

I was not at the party, so I did not get to see how the inside turned out, but there were rave reviews!

When they brought it out to him, he looked up and gasped ‘Erica’s?’ haha!  It’s that kind of thing I miss about baking!  Baked goods bring people together and make so many people happy!

Anyways, it was all gone and apparently was delicious!

Wrapping this up… That was a very rambley , unorganized post!  I will do better next time.  Hopefully there will not be years between the next one!!

Fishing Cake

20180630_071205

When I was asked to make this cake, I panicked a little. Cake, I can do.  Character/figures, not so much. If you have been around a while you may remember the Rocky Horror Elsa from the Frozen cake, I attempted.  After that, I have avoided them at all cost!

In true Erica fashion, I procrastinated until the very last-minute, thinking if I just keep putting it off, maybe they will cancel!  Nope!

I hounded a friend of mine, who also does cakes, and is amazing at figures for some tips. She was a great help!!

20180630_071431

He is by  no means awesome, but  much less scary looking!  I didn’t hate it.

I have not been posting many cakes, but they are continuously being added to the cake page.  I liked this one, so it got a post.