Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie with Coconut Crumble Topping

As rhubarb has a short seasonal availability and it's not the easiest ingredient to find in Madrid, so whenever it's around, I incorporate it in all sort of recipes. Today's pie is an example of such recipes.
Strawberry and rhubarb are a beautiful flavor combination, but  add coconut to the mix and you get something really special.  It´s the first time I try this combination and it surely won´t be the last. It's such a winning combo! Trust me on that, try it and you won't be disappointed. 

This rhubarb and strawberry pie has a flaky yet crunchy crust, a sweet and soft filling with a crumbly coconut topping. Did I convince you? If so, these are the steps you need to make this lovely pie.

For the crust you need: (22 cm pan)
  • 200 g pastry flour
  • 115 g butter
  • 50 g sugar
  • 35 to 45 ml vodka or kirsch
  • dash of salt 
In the food processor, mix flour, sugar and salt, pulse for few seconds to combine, add the butter and pulse a few times to get a sandy mixture. Slowly add the vodka or kirsch; one tablespoon at first then one teaspoon at a time. Each flour has a different absorption capacity, so be careful to avoid having a soggy dough.

Once the dough forms a ball, drop the mixture on the working surface and gather it. Do not over work the dough. Wrap in plastic and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

Once you´re ready to bake, flatten and roll the dough on a floured surface to about half a cm thick and place it in the pie dish. Prick the dough with a fork, cover with baking paper, put some weight over it (beans, rice or ceramic pearls) and blind bake for 10 to 15 min in a preheated oven (180 C). 

Set aside to cool.

For the filling:
  • 3 tbsp of raspberry and rhubarb jam (or any strawberry jam)
  • 125g sliced strawberies
  • 125g sliced rhubarb
  • 50 g sugar (or adjust to your liking)
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • seeds of half a vanilla bean 
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients but the jam and leave to macerate for at least 20 minutes. 

For the streusel topping:
  • 25 g cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 25 g sugar
  • 50 g pastry or all purpose flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50 g desiccated coconut                                                                                                                  
Combine the sugar, flour, salt and butter using a dough blender or your fingertips. Work quickly as you don´t want to melt the butter. Once you have a sandy mixture add the coconut flakes and vanilla and mix to combine.


Spread the jam over the baked and cooled dough. Add the strawberry and rhubarb mixture (discard the excess liquid) then evenly sprinkle the streusel on top. You can add some extra shaved coconut if you wish.

Bake in a preheated oven (180 C) until the top is golden brown. Leave to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle some powdered sugar for an extra nice touch, although not necessary. Serve while still  warm with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche, some jam and slices of fresh strawberries. 

The combination of these flavors is spot on and will satisfy any pie lover.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

An Exquisite Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam

Although spring in Madrid this year did not offer us the blue skies and warm temperatures it usually does, but I still wanted to enjoy the season's gifts the best way I can.

For some reason, rhubarb is not a popular ingredient in Madrid. You rarely, if ever, find it  in grocery shops or supermarkets. Being the person who likes to try new tastes and flavors, I was curious about rhubarb, but I never had the chance to try it. The first I got to sample this wonderful ingredient was during a layover at Frankfurt Airport, out of all places! My body was screaming for a cup of coffee and sweets. I ordered a cup of coffee from a cute little coffee shop and while inspecting their sweet offerings I hit the jackpot: a rhubarb pie. I looked no further. I knew I had to have it. Airport food is not the most glamorous, but the pie was a very good introduction to rhubarb. I watched the planes take off and land while sipping the warm coffee and nibbling on the pie.   

Luckily last year, I found a nearby shop where I can order rhubarb when in season. While they are not the prettiest rhubarbs out there (like the ones that you would get in Northern European countries) but they still do the job.

Last year I made roasted rhubarb sorbet, a pie and a jam and it was so good that this year I decided to stock up and fill my fridge with jars of jam that are just begging to be enjoyed.

One thing I like about rhubarb that it does go well with other fruits. Besides the pure rhubarb jam, I do jam mixes and combine rhubarb with other seasonal fruits. In this post, I am sharing a jam recipe that combines two delicious fruits that make a wonderful jam combo: strawberry and rhubarb.

For about 1 kilo of jam you need:
  • 500 g of strawberries, chopped into small pieces
  • 400 g of chopped rhubarb stalks 
  • 500 g sugar
  • 30 ml of lemon or lime juice
  • half vanilla bean, with seeds (optional)
  • 1 piece of orange rind (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a pot. Mix for a bit then cook over a medium heat for about 10 min. Lower the heat and continue cooking until you have a rather thick mixture.

Because strawberries and rhubarb have low pectin levels, you can add some pectin if you wish to achieve a thick and nicely set jam. You can also use sugar with added pectin.
Keep in mind that lemon juice does has some pectin. I did not add any additional pectin, but I cooked the jam for a bit longer, almost an hour over a very gentle flame.

To test the thickness of the jam just run your finger down the back of the spoon, if the 2 lines stay separate then it´s time to turn off the heat. Pour the jam in sterilized jars, close the lid and let cool. 

To sterilize the jars, you can place them in boiling water for at least ten minutes, then dry over clean sheets. Alternatively, if the jars are microwavable sterilize them in a microwave. Wash the jars thoroughly, then put them in the microwave for few minutes.
Place the cooled jam in the fridge to preserve it for the longest period possible. 

Jams, quite often, seem as too simple and mundane. However, the touch of orange and vanilla make this jam anything but dull. Trust me, you are going to love every spoonful! 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Baklava Cheesecake, the Best of Two Worlds

It's been a while since I posted a recipe, that's why I wanted to come back with a dessert recipe that kind of justifies my absence. The decision was prompted after Foodies+ community on Google+ announced its theme of the month: food fusion. 

I had a recipe idea in mind but I never made it and I just kept postponing it. The Foodies+ theme was the perfect occasion I have been waiting for.  

The baklava cheesecake is a winning fusion recipe in my book and it does justice to both recipes it is based on. It has all creaminess you would expect from any self-respecting cheesecake and all the nutty crunchiness of baklava. The sugar syrup with its fragrant orange and rose water notes helps of the dessert elements to come together happily!

Balava fillings are nut based. The most common ones are pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. I could have used any of these for the recipe as they are all delicious, but I used pistachios because I like its subtle flavor and its lovely green color contrasts the cheesecake's pale yellow hues. If you don't like pistachios, you can use the nuts of your choice.  

There are few steps to make this baklava cheesecake; nothing too complicated but it needs a bit more of your time.

 For the base (18cm springform pan) you need: 
  • 4 to 8 filo pastry sheets (depending on the size of the sheets)
  • 50 g melted butter
First, brush each filo sheet with butter and lay in the greased springform. 

You can simply stack the sheets on top of each other. Alternatively, you can fold each one into thirds, put the first layer in the middle, then put the other folded sheet on top to form a cross and cover the rest of the pan with more folded sheets. 

You need to put enough pastry to cover the pan and have a strong base to hold the cheesecake filling. You can add more sheets if you like but keep it moderate.  Don´t forget to brush each sheet generously with butter, then trim the excess edges but leave some hanging on the sides of the pan.

Bake in a preheated  oven (180C) for about 15 min or until golden brown.

For the syrup:
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g water
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 2 to 3 dried rose buds (optional) 
  • 1 tsp rose water
Combine sugar, water, cinnamon and rose buds, and simmer over a gentle heat. Once the sugar is melted and the mix bubbles, add the lemon juice and simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add the rose and orange blossom waters.

For the pistachio filling:
  • 100 g chopped pistachios
  • 30 g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (adjust to your taste)
  • 15 g syrup 
Mix everything together until you get a wet mixture and spread it over the baked and cooled filo pastry base and set aside.

For the cheesecake filling:
  • 600 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature 
  • 100 g sour cream or thick yogurt
  • 120 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn flour 
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or to your liking)
  • 15 g of syrup
In your mixer bowl, add the cheese and mix on a low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the sugar, the sour cream, cinnamon, salt, syrup, corn flour, rose and orange blossom water and mix again until well blended and no lumps are visible. Add the eggs one by one and keep mixing on a low speed and scrap the sides of the bowl from time to time. 
When everything is combined, pour the batter over the filo and pistachio layer and bake in a preheated oven (150 to 160 C). 

Usually it's customary to wrap the spring-form pan with aluminum foil and place it in another pan filled with warm water and then bake for the required time that is usually for a pan of this size one hour to one hour and a half (oven-dependent).  This bain-marie method of cooking is needed to bake your cake at a gentler heat to avoid surface cracks.

What I do is different though. I put in the middle layer of the oven a pan and fill it with warm water then place the cheesecake pan over a cookie sheet and put both over the pan. This creates  a steamy environment in my oven and allows the cheesecake to cook all the way through while retaining a smooth creamy texture and most importantly with no surface cracks whatsoever.

After one hour, turn off your oven, shake the tray, make sure the middle is still a bit wiggly and leave the oven door cracked open for another half an hour to an hour. 

Let the cake cool completely before you put it in the fridge overnight. 

Decorate to your liking. Slice the cheesecake, drizzle some syrup on top and enjoy! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Romantic Orange and Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Valentine's day is here and it is a good occasion to remind yourself of the importance of love. Irrespective if you're a fan of the occasion or not, it's always great to bake or cook something special for your other half, your family, your friends or just for yourself to enjoy! 

My Valentine's special this year is a simple, cute and romantic sugar cookie perfumed with orange and vanilla for a mouth watering sensation. The cookies are delicious on their own, but if you fill them with a jam like the one I used then you've got a perfect Valentine dinner dessert or a lovely and romantic gift item. 

The recipe is really simple and requires few ingredients. 

For the dough you need:
  • 200 g butter at room temperature
  • 130 g powdered sugar (add more sugar if you just want plain cookies with no filling)
  • 1 egg (about 50 g) room temperature
  • zest of one orange
  • the seeds of one vanilla pod
  • 350-400 g of flour (the quantity well depend on how the butter absorbs the flour)
  • dash of salt
First, cream the butter, orange zest, salt, vanilla and the sugar for a couple of minutes until the butter feels light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat again for a couple of minutes until well incorporated.
Slowly add the flower to incorporate to the wet mix. Don't over mix the dough, you just want it to come together. 

Knead  the dough gently to incorporate all the ingredients until the dough is no longer sticky. If it feels too wet and sticky add some flour. Leave the dough on the counter for few minutes, uncovered. 

Place the dough between 2 baking papers and roll out to 5 mm thickness. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night for better results.

Take the dough out of the fridge and cut the cookies using the molds you like. I used a 10 cm round cookie cutter. I got about 16 cookies and I cut out a heart shape in 8 of them.  

Refrigerate for an additional 30 min so that the cookies hold their shape while baking.

Bake the cookies in a preheated oven (180C) for 10 to 15 min. The baking time depends on the thickness and the size of the cookies. You just want them to have a light golden color. 

Let the cookies cool completely then fill them with the red jam of your choice. You might want to try this one!

Happy valentine´s day, and remember: always bake with love and passion! 

Cranberry Jam with Ginger and Orange

After a long break from blogging it´s time to come back to my favorite hobby. Until recently, I was still in the Christmas mood. It's hard to get over your favorite holiday and time of the year, but I was longing for the peace and relaxation I got. I guess I still wanted to relax and take things slowly. Lazy days be gone!

A while ago I bought a big bag of cranberries, and I had many ideas on how to use them, but I kept postponing all of them. Well the cranberries were not getting any fresher and the best option was to make some good jam with them. After all, nothing beats the taste of homemade jam or jelly.

The recipe is straight forward and really good. It is both tangy and sweet with the beautiful aromas of ginger and jam. The jam is perfect to smear on fresh bread, especially if it´s a sourdough bread, for breakfast or as a quick snack or dessert.

Let´s go to the recipe
The batch I made was enough to fill 3 medium sized jars. You will need:
  • 450 g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 250 g sugar
  • 100 g orange juice 
  • 100 g water
  • 3 strips of orange peel
  • 20 g finely chopped or grated ginger

Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottom pan, mix well and let the jam cook for at least an hour on a very gentle heat.

The cranberries will burst then melt as they bubble away. After an hour, fill your sterilized jars with the hot jam and seal well. Let them cool completely before you put them in the fridge.

Now you are ready to spread this beautiful burgundy jam on your bread or brioche or to use it as a filling in cakes or cookies.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hazelnut and Cinnamon Chocolate Coulant with a Caramel Heart

Only a few hours separate us from the new year, and if you are celebrating at home with family and friends, I suggest an easy dessert that is guaranteed to satisfy everyone, especially chocolate lovers. 

As you probably have little time on your hands and would rather spend it with your loved ones instead of in the kitchen, any dessert you prepare should be quick, easy and of course tasty! This is exactly what this coulant recipe delivers as you'll need few ingredients, a couple of bowls and a whisk. If you want to save more time on new year's eve, you can prepare everything the night before and bake when you're ready to serve.  

For 4 servings you need:
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 30 g toasted and chopped hazelnut
  • 15 g hazelnut paste (optional but preferable if you can find it)
  • 50 g sugar
  • 30 g flour
  • 50 g butter 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 60 g caramel, you can use store bought or make your own.

First start by melting your chocolate in a bain-marie or microwave. Once melted add the butter and the hazelnut paste and let them melt with the heat of chocolate. 
Whisk the eggs, vanilla, salt  and cinnamon then add the sugar and beat well until is combined.

Slowly add the chocolate to the egg mixture and mix well, then add the flour and the chopped hazelnuts and mix again until all is well combined.

Grease your ramequins and cover them with cocoa powder, pour some of the batter then put about a tablespoon of caramel then cover it with more batter. Fill only two thirds of the ramequin.

Heat your oven to 240 C, and place the ramequins in the fridge for at least 15 min. Bake the coulant for 10 min, take out and leave it to cool for 5 min then serve it with a sprinkle of sea salt. 

You can make the batter days ahead and freeze it. The day before serving, remove from the freezer and put in the fridge. On the day of serving, all you need to do is bake as instructed previously. 

I wish you a wonderful and sweet end of the year and a bright and delicious start of 2018! Happy New Year!

For caramel sauce recipes click: hereherehere and here

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Rugelach, Delicate Festive Cookies.

December is undoubtedly one of the busiest months of the year. The holidays and their anticipation take a toll on us but they definitely bring unparalleled joy and warmth!

Though this year I did not have much time to think of an elaborate Christmas menu as my energy level is a bit down, I managed to determine one of the menu's sweet items.

I recently tried and really loved a sweet cookie called rugelach. I was not really sure how the cookies' name should be pronounced but I was certain that I found cookies that are worth featuring on my Christmas table or any other festive table.

These crescent shaped cookies were brought to America by the Asheknazi immigrants. The original recipe was leavened with yeast and sour cream was added for flavor and moisture. However, in the last century, the sour cream was dropped and replaced with cream cheese and the dough was no longer fermented.

The cream cheese adds an incredible softness to the dough and the butter makes it flaky and crumbly. The dough is usually stuffed with jam, chocolate and nuts all dusted with cinnamon. The filling can be customized to your liking; as longer as you like the ingredient, use it!

These cookies will captivate you with their aromatic, flaky and satisfyingly rich flavor.

Let´s make some rugelach.

 For the dough you need: (enough for 24 small pieces)
  • 170 g all purpose flour 
  • 160 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 140 g cold cream cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 20 g sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt
In a big bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, zest, cinnamon and butter and mix with the paddle attachment until you get a sandy mixture. You can also use your pastry blender. Add the cream cheese and mix until well combined.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

For the filling:
  • 150 g orange jam
  • 70 g chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 60 g sugar
  • about 50 g dark chocolate
  • 1 and half  tsp cinnamon.

On a generously floured surface, roll the dough (keep the other 2 parts in the fridge while you roll the first one) to about 20 to 22 cm disk of 2-3 mm thick.

Spread about 50 g of the jam, leaving 1 cm away from the edge. Cut the disk in 4 parts, then each part into 2 triangles. Sprinkle 20 g of the sugar, half tsp of the cinnamon, a generous sprinkle of pecans and the grated chocolate.

Roll each triangle into a crescent shape and tuck the edge on the bottom side to prevent the rugelach from opening while baking. Once you finish rolling you need to put the rugelach again in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Repeat the same process with the remaining dough.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Brush each cookie with milk, cream or egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake for 20 to 25 min or until golden brown.

As they bake, the cookies will fill your home with an irresistible Christmas aroma wafting from the cinnamon, the orange, the nuts, the chocolate and the dough itself. A heavenly mix!   I am sure you won't be able to wait for the cookies to cool completely before eating one or two.

With this recipe, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Keep on baking!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

London Fog Caramel Sauce

If you follow my blog, you know that I have somewhat of a healthy obsession with caramel sauces. You would think that with the few basic ingredients you need to make a good caramel sauce, you would be limited with how much you can play with the classic sauce. However, like with everything in the kitchen, the only limit is your imagination. I love to play around with the basic caramel recipe and tweak it to add an extra flavor note or a different texture or both. Today's caramel sauce features the simple ingredients you need to make a London Fog Tea, sounds interesting, no?

For other caramel recipes, you can try my salted caramel sauce, or how about my spicy and sweet caramel recipe?

The London fog caramel sauce stands out with its floral and citrusy notes, thanks to the Earl Grey tea and the dried lavender flowers. The result is a caramel sauce with a balanced sweet flavor and complex flavor notes.

Let´s make the sauce
For the tea you need:
  • 1 earl grey tea bag (use 2 bags for a more intense flavor)
  • 50 ml boiling water
  • 1 tsp dried lavender petals (adjust to you liking)
In a cup, put the tea bag and the lavender then add the boiling water and let it steep and then cool.

For the caramel sauce:
  • 50 ml of the prepared tea
  • 120 g sugar
  • 50 g cold butter cut into cubes
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • pinch of salt (needed to bring out the flavors)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste 

Put the sugar in a saucepan and melt over a gentle heat. Once the sugar is golden brown add the steeped tea  and let it boil for few seconds. Always be careful when adding liquid to a hot caramel as it will splatter. Add the cold butter and let it melt. Add the salt and the cream.
Cook for a few minutes until it thickens. Finally add the vanilla and whisk well

Lift the saucepan off the stove and allow the caramel sauce to cool down.

Pour the sauce in a clean jar and refrigerate, if you will not use it within the day of its making.

Like all caramel sauces, you can use it in so many ways. It is such a useful ingredient to keep in your fridge. It complements pancakes, crepes and sponge cakes perfectly. You can add it to cheesecakes to add a new flavor dimension, or you can use it as a sweet dipping sauce with fruits, biscuits and much more.

You can find herehereherehere and here many recipes I've shared before with caramel sauces.

Make your own caramel sauce and use it the way you want, it will only enhance your baking and make it more scrumptious.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Savory Autumnal Pear, Pecan and Cheddar Pie

Who doesn't like pies? The buttery crust alone draws crowds from all over! The Foodies+ community on Google Plus dedicated a whole month for pies. Community members are challenged to concoct pies with seasonal ingredients using at least two  from a list prepared by the moderators that reflect the taste of autumn.

I rarely post savory recipes on my blog, but this time I wanted to go with something different, simple and savory.

The filling is made from a delicious trio of simple, yet complementary ingredients: pear, pecan and cheddar. Pears are known to complement the flavors of both nuts and cheese. Their mild sweetness softens the sharpness of cheese and brings out the nuttiness of pecans.

The cheese that you would use for this pie depends on your personal preference, but you do need to use one with character and depth of flavor. You can choose a blue cheese for example, if you appreciate their strong and sharp flavor. However, keep in mind that very strong cheeses do not suit the palate of many.

Though it was my first time trying this food trio in a pie, it certainly won't be the last one! The result was just perfect: nutty, buttery, and creamy with a touch of sweetness.

Let´s start baking (yields 4 servings; 18 cm pan):

For the crust you need:
  • 175 g pastry flour
  • 100 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 15 g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • a dust of cinnamon (optional)
  • 25 g grated cheddar 
  • 20 ml cider vinegar
  • 25 ml cold water
In a bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, cheese and mix. Add the butter and work it quickly with the tip of your fingers or a dough blender. Add the vinegar and mix. Slowly start adding the water. Keep in mind that each flour absorbs water differently so don´t add all of your water at once. Drop the dough on your working surface and just gather it until it comes together. Don't overwork the dough as this would activate the gluten and it won't be crumbly. Wrap the dough in plastic and leave it in the fridge for at least an hour. You can do this step one day in advance. 

For the filling:
  • 300 g pears, cored and cut into wedges (you need pears that withstand cooking and have a nice round flavor)
  • 2 small shallots, cut into wedges
  • 50 g chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 50 g cheddar 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard 
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 15 g butter
  • 1 tbsp of flour
Over a medium heat, add the butter and oil and wait a bit until the butter melts before adding the shallots. Cook until softened. Add the pecans and allow them to toast and soak in the flavors. Add the pears, salt, pepper, the mustard and cook for few minutes. Don't overcook the pears, you just want to sauté them. Add the honey and cinnamon, mix well and turn off the heat. 

Honey and cinnamon sauce:
  • 40 g honey
  • 20 g water
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
Mix everything in a saucepan and then bring to a boil for few minutes. Leave to cool.

Roll the dough to about 5 mm thick,  arrange it over your tart pan, prick it and put it in the fridge again for 15 to 30 minutes.  

Mix the flour with the cooked pears then add the cheese and mix well with the filling. Now spread the filling over the dough.

You can decorate the pie with the leftover dough, it's not mandatory but it does add an extra touch. Brush the pie edges with cream and bake it in a preheated oven (175C) for about 35 to 40 min. Let the pie rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Drizzle with the honey sauce and serve with a simple green salad and a good glass of wine.

Bon appetit.

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Spooky Pumpkin Cheesecake

Like every year on Halloween, I like to bake something for the occasion. Halloween celebrations are becoming more ingrained within the Spanish cultural landscape and I don't mind it at all! I think it's a fun way to express our dark side in a totally benign manner.  

I have made cookies, cakes, muffins and more for Halloween. This year I went for a cheesecake, my soft spot in the dessert world! What's a pumpkin cheesecake like? Extra creamy and full of the wonderful pumpkin pie spice flavors; you really can't ask for more! 

Like all recipes that have a substantial amount of spices, the flavor is always better the following day, so do take the effort of preparing the cheesecake one day before serving. Let your imagination go wild and surprise your guests, your friends or your family with this perfect end for a gorylicious Halloween dinner party. 
Let´s start baking.

For the crust you need: (18 cm spring-form pan; serves 6-8 people)
  • 100 g digestive cookies
  • 25 g melted butter
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Place the cookies in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin until you have a coarse powder. Place the pulverized cookies in the spring-form pan, add the melted butter and sugar, mix well then press the mixture to cover the bottom and the sides of the pan. Bake in a preheated oven (180 C) for 8 to 10 min. Leave to cool.

For the filling you need:
  • 600 g cream-cheese at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature 
  • 100 g sour cream (or thick yogurt,)
  • 130 g sugar (70 g brown sugar and 60 g granulated)
  • 120 g  pumpkin purée (mine is homemade)
  • 1 tbsp flour or cornstarch
  • dash of salt
  • 1 to 2  tsp of pumpkin spices, adjust the quantity to your liking (I used: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, allspice, fresh and powdered ginger and a bit of cardamom)
  • 1/2 tsp of bourbon (optional)
In the mixer bowl, add the cheese and mix on a low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the sugar, sour cream, spices, salt, pumpkin purée and flour and mix again until well blended and no lumps are visible. Add the eggs one by one and keep mixing on a low speed. Finally add the bourbon mix for a bit. 

Pour the batter in the pan, and bake in a preheated oven (150 to 160 C). 

Usually it's customary to wrap the spring-form pan with aluminum foil and place it in another pan filled with warm water and then bake for the required time; that is one hour to one hour and a half (oven-dependent) for a pan of this size.  This bain-marie method of cooking is needed to bake your cake at a gentler heat to avoid surface cracks.

What I did is different though. I put in the middle layer of the oven a pan and filled it with warm water then placed the cheesecake pan over a cookie sheet and put both over the pan. This created  a steamy environment in my oven and allowed the cheesecake to cook all the way through while retaining a smooth creamy texture and most importantly with no surface cracks whatsoever.

After one hour, turn off your oven, shake the tray, make sure the middle is still wiggly and leave the oven door cracked open for another half an hour to an hour. 

Let it cool completely before you put it in the fridge overnight. 

Before serving decorate the cheesecake to your liking. I added some crushed digestive cookies, and decorated a sugar cookie following this tutorial to resemble a tombstone. I also added some royal icing spiders and pine nuts as maggots for that extra graveyard feel. 

And there you have it: a gory but delicious dessert for your Halloween party!

For other Halloween recipes click hereherehere and here