Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Word About Bourbon

Thanksgiving morning started like any other: me baking away in Grandma's kitchen and then triumphantly licking the spoon. Granted I did this in a very confrontational lock eyes with you kind of way which was promptly met with "How does that salmonella taste Jennifer?" "Great, the rum totally kills the salmonella." Ha. I went on to explain my bourbon cheesecake when all of the sudden Grandma exclaims that she has some the telephone. Obviously I think that she has completely lost it as she motions to the top of the china cabinet which is filled with the typical grandparent things like an antique phone, a rooster teapot and lasagna noodles.
But wait! It turns out that the antique phone I thought was actually just a phone my whole entire life is a giant flask of bourbon. Which after a quick calculation of the original age and how long my grandparents  were in possession of it resulted in us discovering we had 40 year old bourbon on our hands. At which point Grandma decides what the heck, let's open it up. And so the three of us did a shot of 40 year old bourbon before ten in the morning and man oh man was it smooth. Best Thanksgiving ever?!
Oh snap, the bell pops off to reveal a hidden flask!
Right, back to the cheesecake. I have never made a cheesecake before which may have resulted in some technical issues such as the texture, it was very fluffy not thick like a cheesecake. I'm also unsure about how I feel about pumpkin flavor that is not in a traditional pumpkin pie (which is sweet). Everyone liked it and thought it was good except for the non-cheesecake texture. Mr. Lawyer said if I had plopped it in a ramekin and called it a custard or mousse no one would have thought twice. The caramel-bourbon sauce? To. Die. For. I will definitely be keeping that part of the recipe for future desserts and ice cream. It made a lot so I still have half a mason jar in the fridge which I may or may not be eating by the spoonful.
Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake with Caramel-Bourbon Sauce
(from Bon Appetit Magazine)
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted, cooled
3 tablespoons golden brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
4 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Large pinch of salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted, cooled
1. Crust - Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Grind first 4 ingredients in processor until nut mixture sticks together. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake crust until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. Wrap outside of pan in triple layer of heavy-duty foil.
2. Filling - Using mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon peel in large bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then pumpkin, yogurt, flour, vanilla, spices, and salt. Pour into pan.
3. Set springform pan in roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cheesecake. Place in oven. Bake until outer 3 inches puff slightly and center is softly set, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool in water bath 30 minutes. Remove from water. Cut around sides of cake to loosen. Refrigerate in pan until cold, about 4 hours. Cover and chill overnight.
4. Sauce - Bring sugar, cream, butter, corn syrup, and salt to boil in deep medium saucepan, whisking until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; boil 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon, then pecans. Cool, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove foil. Cut around pan sides; remove sides. Cut cheesecake into wedges; spoon sauce over.

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