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Butternut Squash Goat Cheesecake

Butternut Squash Goat Cheesecake

Each Thanksgiving I go through the same old song and dance; to cheesecake or not to cheesecake. I know it’s not a traditional turkey day treat, but none-the-less one that has earned a right to mingle with its pumpkin pie and pecan brethren.

So in an effort to break with tradition, I decided to create my own unique cheesecake inspired by the bounty of the season, and share it with all you dessert enthusiasts out there.

The key to this dessert is taking the time to get the freshest ingredients and treat them right. For instance, butternut squash, which is plentiful everywhere right now needs to be sliced in half, sprinkled with brown sugar and baked until super soft. Chestnuts need to be scored by making an X at the base with a sharp knife and roasted until they split open. And the goat cheese needs to be mild and fresh. I suggest checking out your local farmers market for these ingredients. If you can't, buy the best organic ingredients you can afford. It really makes a difference.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Deliciously yours,

Chef Diana


Butternut Squash Goat Cheesecake with Salted Caramel and Chestnut- Gingersnap Crust

Yields: 8-10 servings

Chestnut Crust:

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

11/2 cups finely ground gingersnap  wafers

2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup roasted chestnuts, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch kosher salt

Filling:

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2  cups goat cheese yogurt (or cream cheese)

1 cup goat cheese

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups cooked and pureed butternut squash (recipe below)

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2 Tablespoon vanilla extract

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)

2 teaspoons ground pie spice (or cinnamon)

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon  zest, 1 lemon zested

2 Tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Slice squash in half. Roast squash sprinkled with a 1/4 cup brown sugar until soft, about 1 hour. Roast scored chestnuts (make X in chestnut with a sharp knife) on a sheet pan and cook until skins split open, about 30 minutes. Puree squash in blender or food processor until silky smooth and set aside. When chestnuts are cool enough to handle, peel skin and finely chop. Set aside. 

Turn oven down to 325 F

2. Line bottom of 9-inch spring form pan with parchment and brush with butter or cooking spray. Cover outside of pan with aluminum foil to keep drippings from escaping.

3. Crush gingersnap wafers by placing them in a plastic bag and using a rolling pin to crush them to small crumbs.

4. Stir together gingersnap crumbs, minced chestnut, sugar, spices and melted butter until combined. Pat mixture into the bottom of the springform pan until packed. Refrigerate until ready to use.

5. In a large bowl or food processor, cream together butter and goat cheese and goat yogurt. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in pureed squash.

6. Egg in eggs, one at a time and beat until combined.

7. Add spices, lemon zest, juice, vanilla and sifted flour and beat for 1-2 minutes.

8. Pour filling into chilled base and place in a larger pan filled with an inch of water. This will serve as a water bath, to keep the filling from curdling and drying out.

9. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until filling is set but slightly jiggly in the center. Turn the oven off and leave ajar for 45 minutes . This will allow the cake to cool slowly and prevent it from cracking.  Chill in the refrigerator at least 6 hours before unmoulding.

10. Place a jar of salted caramel (I like the Trader Joes kind) with lid off in microwave for 30-45 seconds or until liquid.  Pour the caramel over the cooled unmoulded cake and allow caramel to set before cutting into it. Another option is to cut slices and drizzle caramel on top of each slice. This is my preferred choice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with freshly whipped cream.

 

The Happy New Year Brisket
I Just Cooked To Say I Love You

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Friday, 23 February 2018

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