Category Archives: Dessert

Pumpkin Cheesecake

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I was recently asked to make two desserts for the dessert dash at a fundraising auction. After a quick search online, I came across this recipe on Epicurious. It is from Gourmet magazine, which is one of my favorites for recipes, so I wanted to give it a try.

IMG_4056[1]The recipe was originally published in 1990—and to be honest, I bet I made it 20 years ago.

This time, however, I adapted the original recipe by substituting gluten-free graham crackers (available at specialty grocery stores). It was so simple. Plus, I was surprised how good the flavor was in the gluten-free graham crackers. At right is box from the brand I used.

Whether you opt for the gluten-free or original version, this will make a delicious addition to your holiday feast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Serves 12 to 14
¾ cup gluten-free graham cracker crumbs (from five 4¾- by 2¼-inch crackers)
½ cup pecans (1¾ ounces), finely chopped
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
Garnish: pecan halves

First, prepare the crust:
Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create a 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 ½ inch up the side of the pan, then chill for about 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

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

Stir together granulated sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a 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.)

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

Baked cheesecake can be stored, chilled and covered, for up to two days.

Rhubarb Crisp

March 2015 018

Spring is here. In the Northwest, that means new produce is showing up in farmers markets and rhubarb is in season. A few of my clients have served this recently at dinner parties, so I thought it was a good recipe to share with you.   Continue reading

12th Man Cookies – Seattle Style

––12th man cookie prep (4)

One day last month, my husband came home from work and told me that he and his office mates had decided to spice up office life a bit by making Wednesdays “cookie hump day.” Each week, a different person was in charge of bringing in cookies, which could be homemade or store bought. When it was Jason’s turn, I had some free time, so I offered to make the week’s cookies. Continue reading

Blackberry Pie

Summer 2014 030

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a number of clients and friends who choose (or need) a gluten-free diet. As a result, I am always on the lookout for recipes that are delicious enough to please people with special diet concerns as well as their friends and families who don’t need (or choose) to avoid gluten. Plus, I like a good challenge.

I found this recipe through a quick search online, and I tried it for a client who was hosting friends who eat gluten-free. My client prefers to stay vegan, and this recipe met both of those requirements.

Continue reading

Gluten-Free Fruit Crisp

September 2014 028

I recently made a variation on this crisp for a small dinner party I catered. For those clients, I used just peaches, by request, but when I make this at home, I like to use nectarines and blueberries. Continue reading

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Panna cotta and Rub 010

Often when my husband and I go out to one of our favorite restaurants near our home, Bar del Corso,  panna cotta is on the dessert menu. Every once in a while we order it, and every time, I comment on how simple it is to make, yet so delicious, and it inspires me to go home and make a batch. Continue reading

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Summer 2014 027

This is a great recipe and an item that should be a staple in your freezer. These cookies are delicate, flavorful, and easy to make.

I came across this recipe earlier this summer just before catering an event for about 50 people. Raspberry sorbet was on the menu, and I wanted a cookie to serve with it. Continue reading