Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Fever

Since recovering from Cat Scratch Fever, I have come down with a crazed illness of another kind. Before moving to Asheville, summer was my favorite season. These days, once Bele Chere’s over, I start getting all jittery in anticipation of this moment, right now. The biting air, pregnant with smoke from bungalow fireplaces, scenic mountain hikes with trees aflame, corn mazes and costumes and more reasons for kids to be cute, but especially, pumpkin flavored beverages and foods. I ordered my first pumpkin spiced latte from an airport a couple of weeks ago, and the toasty, festive, creamy warmth of it brightened my entire trip. And now it’s official: I’m cuckoo for pumpkin flavor.

A few nights ago, I had a couple folks over for pumpkin carving. I provided spiced hot cider, pumpkin beer, chili, apples with caramel, Pumpkin Bars, and the crowning dish, my first attempt at pumpkin cheesecake.

The recipe I used is an amalgamation of Moosewood’s basic cheesecake recipe and Paula Deen’s pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Looking at the two juxtaposed, it kind of feels like Mollie Katken wants you to live a long, sad life, while Paula Deen is trying to kill you, giggling devilishly as you go.

What I call Pumpkin Bars were actually called Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies on the Libby’s website, but that is not the proper term for these desserts. They are kind of the consistency of brownies, but redolent of pumpkin with a handful of chocolate chips thrown in for contrast. Don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious, I’m just sayin’ don’t tell me I’m getting a brownie and feed me something orange.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 stick of melted butter
2 tspns cinnamon
In a bowl, mix ingredients with a spoon and then pour into a 9 inch springform pie pan, press down with hands. Then, with an electric mixer, mix together the following ingredients for the
3 pckgs cream cheese
1 can pumpkin (don’t know the fresh equivalent, 2 cups maybe?)
1/2 a lemon, plus 1.5 tsp lemon zest
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp if you like more)
1/8 tsp ground cloves (or 1/4 tsp if you like more)
2 tblsn all purpose white flour
1 tspn vanilla extract

Once this is all blended, pour on top of graham cracker crust and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.
You can find the pumpkin bars recipe on my link to the Libby’s website.
Does anyone have any other great pumpkin ideas, sweet or savory? Post them here so we can eat until we turn a pleasant shade of orangy-yellow. Mmmmm.
Oh, and my verdict on the BEST PUMPKIN ICE CREAM IN ASHEVILLE is Ultimate Ice Cream’s version of the cult favorite. You only have 24 hours to try it over at West Asheville’s Two Spoons. They close tomorrow, Oct. 21 for the winter season and won’t reopen until March.


Gourmet Grrl said...

Here's a "taste" of SheWhoEats. (ha ha). I haven't posted on Blogasheville for like a year or something. For more, check out www.shewhoeats.wordpress.com.

Shamelessly promote ourselves? Yes We Can!

Jeremy said...

Yes, yes, yes! I *love* anything made with pumpkin. Thanks for the recipe; I know what I'll be doing this weekend!