Pumpkin Chiffon Pie + 5 Unique Pie Links!

pcp1675She wore bright blue eye shadow and velour track suits.  She sprayed so much Aqua Net on her silver-white hair that she more than likely contributed to the hole in the ozone layer.  Quick with a joke that would make a priest blush, as frugal as an old Yankee, though hailing from the mid-west, Gram was…loved.

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I don’t remember much about her cooking.  Many miles kept us from seeing her much.  However, I do remember her introducing us to pumpkin chiffon pie despite our initial protests.  Sitting at the dinning room table stuffed with my mother’s delicious Thanksgiving feast, we sampled her pie.  Bite after bite quickly dissolved in my mouth leaving me wanting more.  I’m sure I ate too much.  My sweet tooth is usually more than my gut can handle. But, I was hooked.

 

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

Serves 8

Crust recipe adapted from Yankee Magazine Nov/Dec 2015

Filling recipe barely adapted from, Gourmet Nov 1995

**This pie requires 24 hours of chilling time.**

Ingredients for Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 packed light-brown sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Using a food processor grind 16 graham-crackers (full cracker) into crumbs.  Add sugar and pulse a few more times.  Pour in melted butter and pulse again.  Dump the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and press evenly on the bottom and up the sides.

Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Cool and set aside.

Ingredients for Filling:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons of rum

1 cup of milk

3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar

4 large egg yolks

1- 15 ounce can of pure pumpkin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup heavy cream

Optional but delicious- fresh whipped cream

Directions:

Grab a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of rum.  Sprinkle gelatin over the rum and let stand.

Using a heavy saucepan whisk together milk, brown sugar, yolks, pumpkin, spices and salt.  Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until a candy thermometer registers 160F.  Remove from heat and immediately add gelatin mixture.  Whisk until gelatin is completely dissolved.

Transfer filling to bowl set inside a larger bowl of ice water.  Cool and stir for a few minutes.  Remove from ice water.

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or an electric mixer) beat cream until it forms stiff peaks.  Whisk one fourth of the whipped cream into the filling.  Gently fold in remaining whipped cream until it is completely incorporated.  Pour filling into prepared crust and refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour.  After an hour, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 24 hours.

Slice and serve with fresh whipped cream.  Enjoy!

5 Unique Pie Links

Gotta have pumpkin pie on the dessert table? Switch up this year and try David Lebovitz pumpkin pie with toasted marshmallow topping.

Your aunt  wants to bring her famous apple pie, again, this year.  You can’t stomach another apple pie. What to do? Kindly suggest she branch out and make Fix Feast Flair’s pear and nutmeg pie.  Better yet, make it yourself!

Go rogue and bring Adventure in Cooking’s butterscotch pie to your host this Thanksgiving.

Need a bright and slightly tangy pie to cut through all that heavy food? Food 52 has a recipe for a lemon chess pie that looks delicious.

My favorite pie might just be ricotta pie.  I don’t usually have it on Thanksgiving, but that may change this year.  If your on same page head to Buttercream Bakehouse for their chocolate chip ricotta pie recipe.

 

Apple Yogurt Cake + 5 Quick Cake Links!

ayc1252An apple a day keeps whatever ails you away.  A good red wine, chocolate anything, salty something, cold beer and cupcakes also help..me.  Apples are abundant now and I can’t get enough of them.  I eat one everyday after lunch, as well as, whatever slices the kids leave behind.  In an effort to consume as many apples as possible before they go out of season, I added them to a traditional yogurt cake.

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I tore the original cake recipe out of a Bon Appétit magazine almost 4 years ago and taped it inside my little black book recipe book.  (Before Pinterest or this blog I used a pen, a real pen, and wrote down recipes in a little black notebook. Crazy, I know.)  I made the original cake a few times, mainly because my daughter requested it.  She calls it the plain cake which is a perfect description.  Plain and simple.  Perfectly moist and the just right kind of sweet.  So, why mess with a good thing?

The damn apples were begging me to use them.  On this cake…with some raw sugar sprinkled on top.  A little cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and lemon zest season the deliciously basic batter.  Oh and lets not forget about the Greek yogurt.  I couldn’t taste it, but knowing it’s in there made me feel healthy.  Really, it’s ok to have a third piece of cake.  The 3/4 cups of whole milk Greek yogurt, that’s protein girl!  Eat up!

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So I did.  Or we did.  Either way, the cake was gone in less than 48 hours.  I call that a hit.  Enjoy!

Apple Yogurt Cake

serves 8

recipe adapted from Bon Appétit June 2012

Ingredients:

1+ 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup sugar  (The original recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar.  If you prefer a sweeter cake add 1 cup of sugar.  The 3/4 cup of sugar made the cake plenty sweet.  It’s really up to you!)

1 tablespoon lemon zest

3/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 baking apple of your choice, sliced thin

1/4 cup raw sugar to sprinkle on sliced apples

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Spray a standard loaf pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray.  Dust with flour and tap out the excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, kosher salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl rub sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers until the sugar feels like damp sand.  Add Greek yogurt, canola oil, eggs and vanilla extract.  Whisk until well blended.  Fold in dry ingredients until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth over the top.  Add sliced apples, pushing them just slightly into the batter so they will stick.  Arrange apple in a pattern or something pretty.  Sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing the cake.  Remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Slice and serve.  Cake will last stored in an air-tight container or covered in plastic wrap, at room temperature,  for up to 3 days.  Enjoy!

5 Quick Cake Links!

Looking for an easy lemon cake recipe? Head to Willow Bird Baking for Julie’s quick lemon-iced yellow cake.  I really wish this cake would just appear on my kitchen counter.  Magic!

Chocolate cake in the less than an hour? Sounds great.  NYT has the recipe for you.

Apple cider doughnut cake? Yes, it exists! Katie at the Kitchen Door has the mouth-watering recipe for you.

Cake or quick bread? Why decide? Make one that tastes like both!  Head to Not Without Salt for Ashley’s chopped apple cake recipe.

Cranberry season is on the way.  Check out my cranberry maple breakfast cake: a cake that is delicious anytime of day.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting + 5 New Pumpkin Desserts!

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“Mama will you sing me a lullaby?” G.

“Sure buddy.” Me.  The lyrics to You Are My Sunshine come imperfectly out of my mouth.  I hear Johnny Cash in my head. He hears my exhausted, grating voice attempting to coax him to sleep.  Unconsciously, I rub his back.  His eyes are heavy, any minute now he will be dreaming. Dreaming of home?  Perhaps.  For now he makes his nest in a sterile hospital bed, his blankies, froggy and me, little bits of home, remain with him.  

I stare at his sweet, peaceful face, more obvious to me now with his head tightly wrapped in gauze. Beneath the gauze, a constellation of small metal probes stick securely to his head, a rainbow-colored array of wires spill from the top of his head, all connecting to small a computer, recording his brainwaves.  Where do you go when you disappear, buddy?  Maybe this test will tell us.  

I attempt to sleep in the tiny bed/chair they provide.  I can’t get comfortable, my mind races and morning can’t come soon enough.

Morning breaks.  The sky turns from gun-metal gray to overcast ocean blue.  Lights in the building across from us become less obvious as the sky brightens.  I stare out the window, not fully awake, despite nursing my second cup of hospital coffee. I gaze 9 stories down to the Healing Garden, a small bit of nature growing between two buildings, providing a bit of respite for the sick and their caregivers.  A mother and son play with a soccer ball.  The boy, maybe 7, no hair, runs for a bit, but he tires quickly.  Mom picks him up.  He finds the perfect spot on her lap and snuggles.  Her body sways gently back and forth like a cradle.  They attempt normalcy.

G eats breakfast in bed while watching TV.  This is, by far, his favorite part of this visit.  Today we go home with no real answers.  Today after a short drive home, fingers crossed, we attempt normalcy, again. pcccf1119pcccf1169

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Shortly, after our hospital stay I made these pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting because it felt good to bake.  It felt good to give Bubba and kids cupcakes for no reason at all.  After a long few days, we all needed to feel normal, less stressed.  This cupcake brought us back.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

A moist pumpkin cupcake with subtle hints of ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon topped with a rich chocolate cream cheese frosting makes a perfect dessert for fall.

Makes 12

Cupcake recipe barely adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Frosting recipe adapted from the Cupcake Project

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

1⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of ground ginger

¾ cup canned pumpkin

½ cup sugar

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup canola oil

2 eggs

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

Using a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.  Set aside.

Using a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugars and oil until well combined.  Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.  Pour half of your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and fold gently.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold gently until no flour streaks remain.  Do not over mix!

Fill each lined muffin cup with batter, about two-thirds to three-quarters the way full.  Place the muffin pan on the center rack of your oven.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, but check at 18 minutes.  The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when lightly touched or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute in the pan and then dump them on a wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, frost the cupcakes and store in an air-tight container until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

**The cupcakes taste best the day they are made.  If you need to make them a day early, store them in air-tight container in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.**

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

makes about 3 cups

Ingredients for Frosting:

8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder (Use good quality cocoa powder here.  You will taste the difference!)

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon orange zest (optional but delicious)

Directions for Frosting:

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or a hand-held mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy or several minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar.  Next add the cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract and orange zest.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth.  Use frosting immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

**If you refrigerate the frosting be sure to bring it to room temperature and beat for a couple of minutes before using.**

5 New Pumpkin Desserts!

If you love cheesecake check out Baker By Nature’s pumpkin ricotta cheesecake and Jelly Toast’s mini pumpkin goat cheese cheesecakes.  Such creative riffs on a classic dessert!

Halloween is coming up.  Try making a classic candy with a healthy twist this year!  Check out Edible Perspectives chocolate pumpkin almond butter cups.  I want to eat ten of them now!

Craving a s’more?  Head to How Sweet It Is for Jessica’s pumpkin s’mores tart recipe.  Wow!

If you need a gluten-free pumpkin cake recipe, Alice Medrich has the recipe for you on Food 52.  She rocks.

Oven-Roasted Nectarine Cakes + 5 Nectarine Recipes!

 

rnc1022dThe temperature dropped just slightly in the Boston area, so I turned on my oven.  Time to measure, sift and whisk.  Time for some flour on  the counter, maybe some in my hair; softened butter, room temperature eggs and sugar, lots of it.  Time to mix it up until just combined.  Time to bake.  My hiatus from baking left me wandering and unsatisfied.  I made ice cream, fruit crisps, cold Israeli cous cous salads and Alice Water’s potato salad.  I utilize the veggies from weekly CSA as if the end of days were near.  And yet, something was missing: my oven.

When I came across these beauties at the market, I knew they required more than just a crisp or cobbler.  They deserved to be nestled in a butter and sugar batter.  Showered with raw sugar; baked until they turned into delicate crumbed butter and sugar cakes, all just the size of a 6 ounce ramekins, a sweet and personal treat.

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Baking with Julia provided the inspiration and I ran with it.  I swapped out the plums for nectarines, orange zest for lime zest and added a healthy sprinkling of raw sugar.  Twenty-five minutes later these sweet little nectarine cakes were ready for us to eat.

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We ate them without the addition of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream; they were delicious.  The nectarine caramelized just slightly.  The cake was delicate and light with an unexpected, slight tartness from the lime.  When I make them again, I’ll add a dollop of unsweetened whip cream and maybe a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.  A creamy, cold liquid is a great way to ensure every last crumb is scooped up.

Oven-Roasted Nectarine Cakes

Serves 8

Recipe adapted from Baking with Julia’s Oven Roasted Plum Cakes

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons, packed, light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup buttermilk

6 large nectarines, halved and pitted

1/4 cup raw sugar for sprinkling

Cooking spray or melted butter for coating ramekins

Special Equipment: 8 ramekins

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly coat the inside of the ramekins with cooking spray or melted butter. Place them on a baking sheet and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a few more minutes.  Add one egg and beat on high until the egg is incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl and add the second egg.  Beat until incorporated, about 30 more seconds.  Add lime zest and vanilla extract and continue to beat on high for another minute.

Lower the speed of your mixer and add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and mix for less than a minute. Stop the mixer and finish combining the ingredients with a spatula. Do not over mix!

Assembly

Drop about 2 tablespoons of cake batter into each ramekin. Place half of a nectarine, cut side up, into each ramekin. Push down just a little. You don’t want the cake to rise over the nectarine, although some of mine did.  Sprinkle a bit of raw sugar on each nectarine.  Place ramekins on baking sheet and put on the center rack of your oven.  Bake from about 25 minutes, but start checking them at 20 minutes. When the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, they are ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the ramekins for 10 minutes.

Once cool, run a butter knife around the edge of the cake. Lift the cakes out with a small spatula or butter knife. You want to keep them right side up. If this seems too hard, turn the ramekins upside down, lightly tap out the cakes and then place the cakes right side up. Serve the cakes warm or at room temperature. A little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream is a great addition to these cakes, but not necessary. Enjoy!

**Cakes can be kept for up to a day stored at room temperature in an air-tight container.**

Don’t let summer pass without checking out these 5 fantastic nectarine recipes!

Looking for fresh twist on a tart or buckle recipe? Head to Smitten Kitchen for Deb’s nectarine brown butter buckle or nectarine, mascarpone gingersnap tart.  Yum!

Martha’s nectarine cupcakes are on my must make list.

If it’s just too hot to turn on the oven, how about making nectarine ice cream?

If you want an interesting twist on your next caprese salad, head to Shutterbean for Tracy’s nectarine caprese salad.  This looks like summer!

Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream Float + 5 Frozen Treat Links!

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A Good Summer Memory

One sip made me think of you.  Senses exaggerate, eyes dilate, and there I am with you, barely able to see over the wooden ice cream counter.  I request a vanilla ice cream float, knowing you will drink half of it.  I’ll share, but I don’t want to.  You pay the pimple covered, sweaty boy behind the register; your hands tanned and wrinkled smell of gasoline and fresh grass clippings stick to your khaki pants.  Pools of sweat form patterns on your white t-shirt.  The fans overhead move slowly, barely able to cut through the thick, humid, summer air.  We step outside.  The mid-day sun makes herself known and beads of sweat form on our foreheads.  I take a big sip.  You wait patiently.  Bubbles of soda water, now sweet with vanilla ice cream and vanilla syrup, dance on my tongue.  I hand it over and you take a long drink.  Refreshed and energized from a sugar hit, you are ready to head home and finish the yard work.  I grab the spoon sticking out of your pocket and finish the remaining sticky sweet vanilla ice cream.  We drive home with windows down, my fingers and mouth still sticky from our perfect summer treat.

This peach buttermilk ice cream float is far from the artificially sweet vanilla ice cream float I shared with my grandfather.  The fresh simple syrup hints at peach and the homemade buttermilk ice cream tastes like cheesecake.  They are natural companions.  The cold sparkling water dilutes the syrup just a bit.  As the creamy, tangy ice cream slowly melts, the sweet bubbles begin to dissipate, but still dance on my tongue.  I take long sips and think of him on that hot summer day.

Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream Float

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Buttermilk ice cream barely adapted from Epicurious

Peach Simple Syrup from Minimalist Baker

serves 4-6

Ingredients for Peach Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 ripe peaches thinly sliced, more for serving if desired

Directions:

In a small saucepan, bring sugar, peaches and water to a boil. Lower the heat and crush the peaches with a wooden spoon to infuse flavor. Stir. After the sugar is completely dissolved, cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Pour the simple syrup into a bottle, over a fine mesh strainer. You can reserve the peaches for the float or eat them. I ate them immediately.  Refrigerate the simple syrup until ready to use.  It will last, refrigerated, for several days.

Ingredients for Buttermilk Ice Cream

6 large egg yolks

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2/3 cup raw sugar

pinch of Kosher salt

1 cup cold buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Place a metal bowl in the freezer and chill until cold, at least an hour.

Whisk egg yolks in a bowl. Using a large saucepan, mix together cream, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.  Slowly whisk half of the hot cream into the egg yolks. Next add the egg mixture to the saucepan. Stir constantly until the custard thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Do not boil! Remove from heat once thickened.

Pour cold buttermilk into cold bowl. Using a fine mesh strainer, pour the custard into the buttermilk and whisk. Add vanilla and whisk. Chill mixture, uncovered, for several hours, stirring occasionally. (I think it is best to chill this overnight so it is super cold for your ice cream maker.)

Process custard according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Store ice cream in air-tight container overnight before serving. If you can’t wait that long the ice cream will be more like soft serve. Enjoy!

Peach Buttermilk Ice Cream Float

Ingredients:

1/3 cup of peach simple syrup

2 scoops or about 1/2 cup of buttermilk ice cream

Sparkling water

Fresh peach slices, optional

Directions:

Add 2 scoops of ice cream to a glass. Pour in peach simple syrup, followed by sparkling water. Serve immediately with a spoon and straw. Enjoy!

5 Frozen Treat Links!

For a frozen sweet treat with an adult kick, check out Heather Christo’s bourbon vanilla root beer float and Foodie Crush’s boozy blueberry float.

Looking for a vegan option?  Head to Edidble Perspective for a vanilla bean cashew cream milkshake.  Then check out What’s Cooking Good Looking rhubarb milkshake. Decisions, decisions…

I made a roasted strawberry and rhubarb frappe that was a huge hit last year.  If you missed it, you can find the recipe here.

 

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars + 5 Summer Cheesecake Desserts You Should Check Out!

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She started this years ago.  Cheesecake, any form, any flavor, equaled special occasion.  My mother’s go to cheesecake recipe featured a vanilla wafer crust, creamy, silky smooth cheesecake topped with canned cherry or blueberry pie filling.  She rarely needed to refer to the recipe.  She knew it by heart.  She also knew how quickly the little individual cheesecakes nestled in their silver cupcake liners would disappear.  A stern warning like “don’t touch them until Christmas Eve or you’ll get coal in your stocking” usually followed the last dollop of pie filling she place on the perfectly browned cheesecakes.  We waited, and not so patiently waited, until she declared, after her final sip of wine, “let’s have dessert!”

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When she pulled the little bites from the fridge, our mouths watered.  We always ate two immediately and maybe a third if her mood allowed it.  When we got older, the cheesecakes would make a late night appearance usually due to an insatiable case of the munchies.  The baffled look on her beautiful morning face when she discovered just how many we consumed still haunts me to this day.  I’m sure she thought “wtf”?  And then quickly figured out the culprit.  She was, after all, an ER nurse, she grew up during Woodstock, she knew, though pretended otherwise.

When we moved out of her nest, these sweet treats became her go to dessert for any family dinner.  No longer were they just for the holidays. Merely having us in her nest again warranted an appearance of her cheesecake.  We still eat them with the same passion as when we were children.  It’s amazing how food has way to transport you back to a time and place that you still long for, a place we attempt to create in our new families; a place called home, but really home was her.

bcc816I thought about asking her for the recipe, but I knew damn well she wouldn’t share it.  It is still her made from scratch delight.  I get it.  So I drew inspiration from her, but adapted a recipe from Pioneer Woman.  Like my mother’s, the cheesecake is smooth and tangy.  The crust is perfectly sweet, but features graham crackers instead of vanilla wafers.  The blueberry topping is made from fresh blueberries.  Honestly, I could go either way.  I love the canned stuff, but with blueberries abundant this time of year how can you not go fresh?

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I made and shared these bars at a fourth of July party with good friends.  They were a hit.  I saved a few for Bubba and the kids at home.  They asked for them the next day and the day after that.  Maybe this will be the dessert for my kids.  The dessert that reminds them of home, the dessert that reminds them of me.

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients for Crust:

2 sleeves of graham crackers

1/2 unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for Filling:

3 packages, 8 ounces each, cream cheese, softened

1 + 1/2 cup sugar

1 + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

pinch of kosher salt

Ingredients for Blueberry Topping:

4 cups blueberries, about 2 pints

3/4 cup of sugar

squeeze of lemon juice

1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

4 tablespoons water

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line a 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers into crumbs.  Add the melted butter and vanilla extract and pulse until the crumbs look like wet sand.  Dump the mixture into your prepared baking pan and the press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla until smooth.   Next, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice and pinch of salt and mix until well combined.

Pour the filling into the crust and smooth out the top.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Then turn off the oven, leave the door closed and allow it to bake for another 10 minutes.  Lastly, open the oven door a bit and allow it sit in the oven for another 10 minutes.  (Yup, with the door open.)

Remove the cheesecake and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cheesecake cools, make your blueberry topping.  Add blueberries, sugar and 1/4 cup of water to a small pan.  Over medium high-heat, bring to a boil and cook until the juices slightly thicken, about 5 minutes.  ( I mashed some of the berries during this time for a less chunky topping, but it is not necessary.)  In a small bowl, make a slurry: 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 4 tablespoons of water, mix well.  Stir in slurry and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Let it boil for another couple of minutes and then remove from heat.  Allow to cool before adding to cheesecake.

Pour the blueberries over the cheesecake and smooth over the top.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.  I think overnight is best.  Once chilled, remove from 9×13 pan by lifting it out with the foil overhang.  Grab a serrated knife and cut into squares.  Enjoy!

(Can be made two days ahead. Keep refrigerated, covered and cut just before serving.)

5 Cheesecake Recipes You Need To Check Out!

Looking for a completely new and creative take on cheesecake?  Check out My Mother’s Apron Strings for The SoNo Cheesecake: pistachio graham cracker crust, cheesecake topped with fresh raspberries. Wow!

If you need a quick and easy cheesecake, head to Food &Wine for their icebox chocolate cheesecake.

Smitten Kitchen’s raspberry swirl cheesecake and strawberry cheesecake ice cream pie are on my must make list!

Check out my lemon ricotta cheesecake. It was a huge hit!

Banana Cream Pie Revisited + 5 Banana Cream Pie Riffs!

bcp73aGoogle “revisit” and this is what comes up: consider again from a different perspective.  Two years ago, adrift and raw from the loss of my grandfather, I started this blog with a recipe for vanilla bean banana cream pie.  Though not my favorite pie, it was his favorite.  Hoping to soothe my broken-heart, I made a fresh banana cream freckled with vanilla beans, topped with extra banana slices and surrounded by a crunchy and sweet graham cracker crust.  I imagined him eating it and smiling. Continue reading