Tag Archives: cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


I have this strange aversion to predictability.

It’s not that I don’t like routine so much as that I don’t like knowing what’s about to happen. I remember being younger and always knowing what somebody was going to say to me (I always thought adults were condescending, oversimplifying everything they said). But then I got in the habit of deliberately directing situations in an unpredictable way by either doing something unexpected or saying something that completely changed the trajectory of a conversation.

Apparently, I started trolling early. Otherwise known as- once a Redditor, always a Redditor. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

But anyways, today I wanted unpredictability. I had planned out what my next blog post would be, which I never do, and it flustered me thinking about logistics. So I changed the trajectory. I went to the grocery store and assembled random foods that I knew I could somehow combine into a delicious nom.

And, as many know, there are few flavors in this world that I admire/worship/dedicate-my-very-existence to more than pumpkin. I know, a lot of people consider it a Fall flavor. To these people I say: whatever. Pumpkin is an anytime, any season, any mood kind o’ food. These bars are proof.

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with a Cashew Crust

Ingredients- Crust
1 cup cashews, unsalted
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tb unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
5 tb vegan margarine, cubed

Combine cashew and flax seed meal in food processor, and blend for a full minute, until cashew are completely broken down. Add brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cloves, and pulse to combine. Add in margarine and pulse until mixture comes together in a crumby dough.

Press into bottom of 8″ by 8″ pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.

Ingredients- Filling
1 package extra firm tofu, 12.3 ounces
8 ounces
soy cream cheese
1 package
organic vanilla pudding mix, 3.8 ounces
1 can pumpkin puree, 15 ounces
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

Combine tofu, cream cheese, and pudding mix in food processor, and blend until smooth. Scoop half of mixture into separate bowl and set aside. In processor, add in pumpkin, cinnamon, and ginger, and pulse until smooth.

Pour pumpkin mixture over cooled crust, and spread evenly. Next add separate bowl of cheesecake batter over pumpkin, and swirl with a knife to marble to filling. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool on wire rack before transferring to fridge for at least 3 hours or freezer for an hour and fridge for 30 minutes. Cut into squares- makes about 9 bars.

A quick shout out to my puppy Sophie (I call her a puppy even though she’s 3 years old. She will always be a puppy to me. Always.) She’s going in for some knee surgery tomorrow. I have this theory that dogs are much smarter than we think, and that they really do pick up on emotional nuance. She seemed a bit put out today, but hopefully a half hour long belly rub helped.

“Look, Sophie! You’re on the interwebs now!”

Happy nomming,

Danny

Goat Cheesecake with a Pistachio Crust

You know what I enjoy? Adaptations. Alterations. Taking an overused concept and transforming it into some distinct but parallel form.

If anything, I think it’s in our nature. It’s sort of like how everyday, I’ll change one small thing about my routine, just to force myself into some new conditions, under which I’m forced to reconsider what I’ve previously accepted. It can take the form of me doing everything with my non-dominant hand, or taking a different road on my way to work, or trying to write journal entries in a voice that I’ve never used before. It’s simply an exercise in reconditioning my brain to adapt to, and integrate, new experience.

In life, as in baking, adaptation is always useful. I have a number of qualms with traditional cheesecakes:

-the filling is too dang heavy
-the crust is too dang boring, and
-the flavor pairings are too dang simple

I assure you, this cheesecake falls under none of these categories. The filling is a rich, tangy goat cheese, augmented with fat free cream cheese, so you get the full flavor without the overly full feelings afterwards. The crust? A coarse crumble of toasted pistachio. Atop the whole thing sits a honey drizzle, perfectly sweetening and accenting each slice. Ah, the wonders of adaptation.

Goat Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust

Crust- Ingredients
2 cups pistachios, unsalted
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp almond extract
5 tb unsalted butter, cubed

Pulse pistachios in food processor until crumby but with some larger pieces intact. Add in sugar and almond extract, and give a few quick pulses. Add in cubed butter, all at once, and pulse until combined.

Press crust into springform pan, using the base of a measuring cup to flatten and press against sides. Poke a few holes in crust bottom, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.

Filling-Ingredients
(adapted from Dash of East)
12 ounces goat cheese
12 ounces fat free cream cheese*
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

Combine goat cheese and cream cheese in food processor, and mix until smooth and creamy. Add in lemon juice, vanilla, and sugar, and pulse until combined. Last add eggs, one at a time, pulsing between additions until fully incorporated.

Pour filling into cooled crust. Place springform in pan with 1 inch of water, reaching about halfway up the side of the springform. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. When done, turn off oven with the door cracked a few inches to cool evenly and prevent top from cracking. When cheesecake is room temperature, let cool in fridge for at least two hours. Drizzle with honey before serving.

*You could certainly use regular cream cheese, though I think that would make this already dense cheesecake a tad heavy.

Lately I’ve been really utilizing my Netflix Instant Watch. So it should come as no surprise that I recommend curling up on a couch at 3 am with this cheesecake and watching something… eerie. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of comfort food and unsettling television, but they do pair well, I swear. Maybe some Twin Peaks, or X-Files, or this strange but promising Chinese horror film.

Happy nomming,

Danny