Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake by Chef Elizabeth Whittby Chef Elizabeth Whitt

Makes one 9 or 10 inch cheesecake or 1  9×13 dish

For Filling:
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin (canned or homemade see below)
1/4 sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
5 eggs

For crust:
10 whole graham crackers, crumbled
1/4 cup pecans
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp. melted butter

For Topping:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup candied or regular pecans, chopped

Crust: Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare crust in a food processor. Pulse graham crackers until crumbled evenly, then add nuts, sugar and salt and pulse a few times. Pour in melted butter slowly while pulsing. Transfer to a 9-inch spring form pan and evenly smooth crumb mixture, leaving about a one-inch space between the crumb mixture and top of pan.  Bake for 10 minutes in center of oven on a rimmed baking tray. Remove from oven.

Filling: Cream the room temperature cream cheese together with the sugar in an electric mixer using the paddle attachment on high speed for about 1-3 minutes until smooth scraping down the sides frequently. Next add pumpkin and mix until combined. Add sour cream, spices and vanilla and mix until combined. Add in eggs one at a time and do not over mix, just until combined. Pour into crust.

Bake for 10 minutes on a rimmed baking tray at 350 and then reduce oven temperature to 325 F and bake for another 1 hour. Turn off the oven and open the oven door.  At this point the center should jiggle but not be soupy. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven with the door open or ajar for 15 minutes, remove and let cool at room temperature until cool.  Refrigerate 4 hours before serving. Pour sweetened sour cream and pecans over the top just before serving.

Homemade pumpkin puree: Use a 3-4 pound sugar pie or baking pumpkin. Cut off stem and cut in half carefully using a rocking motion. Remove seeds and keep to toast or discard.  Sprinkle with some salt and place cut side down on a parchment covered baking tray. Bake in oven at 350 F for 1 hour. Turn off oven and let sit for an hour or two.  When cool, scrape flesh from the skin and mash with a fork until smooth or place in a food processor.

Thai-Style Carrot Soup with Chrysanthemum Leaves

Melissa's World Variety Produce Yields 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped unpeeled fresh ginger
3½ cups fat-free, low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup fat-free evaporated milk
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon Asian (roasted) sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon dried red chile flakes
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chrysanthemum leaves

In a large pan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and ginger; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add the broth, coconut milk, evaporated milk, lime juice, peanut butter, syrup, vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil, coriander, turmeric, and chile flakes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the carrots are very tender. Remove from the heat.

Using a ladle, remove 1 cup of the broth and set aside. Process the remaining soup in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth; hold the lid down with a potholder if using a blender. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, stir in all or some of the reserved broth.

If making it ahead, refrigerate, covered, for up to 24 hours. Gently simmer on low heat until reheated. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish each serving with chopped chrysanthemum leaves.

Meatless Alternative: Omit the fish sauce and substitute soy sauce.

Oysters Rockefeller

Antoine’s guards their recipe very closely. It definitely does not contain spinach or bacon, but is said to contain parsley, celery and scallions.

Tom Fitzmorris Replica Recipe

Antonie's Oysters Rockefeller RecipeMr. Fitzmorris says it took him about 50 tries to match the flavor of Antoine’s recipe. So if you want to give it a try, I’d say he saved you a good deal of time and expense.

  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup scallion tops,chopped
  • 2 cups parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh fennel, chopped (bulbs,stalks and/or fronds are fine)
  • 1 cup watercress, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 3 anchovy filets, rinsed and chopped
  • Liquor from 4 dozen oysters plus enough water to make 2 cups of liquid
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 drops green food coloring (Fitzmorris says this is optional, but authentic)
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup very fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 dozen oysters
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Combine the vegetables and anchovies in small batches, and process to a near puree in a food processor, using enough of the oyster liquor/water mixture to keep things moving.
  3. Combine the vegetable/anchovy mixture with the rest of the liquid in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring every now and then, until the excess water is gone, but the greens reman very moist. Add the sugar, ketchup, salt, white pepper, cayenne, Worchestershire, bitters and food coloring.
  4. Make a blond roux with the butter and flour. Blend well into the greens, until the sauce takes on a lighter texture. Mix in the bread crumbs.
  5. Place the fresh oysters into oyster shells, small ovenproof ramekins or gratin dishes. Top each oyster with a generous tablespoon (or more, if you like) of the sauce. Bake fifteen minutes, until the sauce barely begins to brown. Serve immediately.
    Note: If you bake the oysters on shells, serve on a bed of rock salt to keep the shells steady.

Yield: 4 Dozen

Bon Appetit!

From Hungry Town, A Culinary History of New Orleans by Tom Fitzmorris
Courtesy of Tom Fitzmorris