What's orange and tastes good when you're homesick?
We never really had a summer in Paris this year. April was extraordinarily nice, warm and full of weeks of endless sunshine. May followed with a few days of sun and moderate temperatures and then Summer packed its bags and went elsewhere....leaving Paris in cool temperatures with lots of rain and clouds. We had a few hot days in late August (while I was on the beach in Corsica, where it was definitely summer). Now that September has arrived, it's still cool, but now it feels fall-ish. My favorite time of year. Its also strange to think I've been here almost a year now. September normally signals my return to the US of A and puts me in a weird not wanting leave, but wanting badly to see those people dear to me in America land. For this reason the start of September has put me in a nostalgic mood. I'm happy to be staying on in Paris, but really experiencing a bit of homesickness....it comes and goes.
When I'm homesick, like a lot of foodies, I want some comfort of the edible kind. The big slices of "Potiron" (French pumpkins) have started appearing at the fruit and veggie stands. They look a little different then the American variety, more like this . Tuesday morning I started craving something sweet and pumpkin flavored. This time of year in Boston, I would have been treating myself to a soy latte and pumpkin cream cheese muffing from Starbucks on my way to work. Or if I were at Crema, I'd be nibbling on the edges of the Pumpkin Cheesecake bars we made and sold through soooo quickly. I first wanted a cake with cream cheese frosting, then I found a cake with a cream cheese swirl recipe. Then like most of my baking/cooking ideas it continued to morph. Pumpkin Cheesecake! And so it was. I modified my cheesecake recipe I've been making for Kooka Boora and the results were exactly what my homesick stomach was aching for. Lucious, creamy, pumpkin-y and lightly spiced. Sadly for Romain, he doesn't like cheesecake (though maybe he would have liked this one) so I took it to work to share with my coworkers. They loved it, and saved me from eating the whole things by myself. I've got great coworkers!
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Hazelnut Crust
Here is my recipe in French ingredients/American equivalents. Cannot guarantee the American version will be exactly the same, but someone please feel free to make it States side and report back!
Makes 1 8" Cheesecake
300g St. Moret or Cream cheese
150g Fromage Blanc or Sour cream
150g Pumpkin puree
2 1/2 TBSP Cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp Flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp Vanilla
Prepare an 8" cake ring or spring form pan by generously buttering the sides. Press your choice of pastry crust or base into the bottom.
Pre-heat oven to 150 C or 300 F
Mix St.Moret/Philadelphia until soft, slowly mix in Fromage blanc/sour cream. Adding it a little at a time to avoid lumps. Mix pumpkin puree with the cheese mixture just till incorporated. In a small bowl mix sugar, cornstarch, flour and spices together, then mix gently into cheese mixture. Whisk egg and vanilla in another bowl and then fold into cheese mixture, do not over mix. (Mixing too much air into your cheesecake can cause it to crack during or after baking.) Gently pour Cheesecake mix into the prepared cake ring or spring form pan. Bake in oven for 45 mins. Cheesecake should still be jiggly like jello in center, but set around the edges. Let it cool at room temperature till center becomes set. Then refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
This might replace pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year.