October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Butter Cheesecake Squares

I've got an endless cascade of windows open in my browser at all times.  They are the recipes I can't bookmark and close, because then I'd forget about them and they deserve more attention than that.  They are the recipes that speak to me, begging to be made.  Sometimes I'll have 20+ recipes in the "MAKE RIGHT NOW!" window, and then, without warning, my internet will crash and the whole thing will be gone.  This might be a blessing in disguise, it often sends my breath out with a woosh, lets me look at the computer with a little less stress.

Pinterest has been great for this problem, I can save my bookmarks in separate folders with a picture.  Picture being the key word here.  I just click on the picture and brings up the window.  Problem solved.  The recipe I'll share here beat out six other desserts all pining for my attention.  "cookie, cupcake or bar?" I asked Shane.  He chose a bar.  "Apple or pumpkin?" He chose pumpkin. It's easier to choose when you don't know your options.

You'll notice in the pictures only six measly little squares, that's all that was left since they came out of the fridge last night.  They're incredible!  Cheesecake is a favourite of Shane's and who can blame him?  The homemade pumpkin butter full of spicy fall flavours, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.  The recipe makes a lot so you'll be eating it on toast for a few mornings at least.  You'll notice the size of the graham crust, it's thick, just the way I like it.  If you'd like your bars a little more in balance I would reduce the amount of crust by a third, though don't tell me, I'd call you crazy.

Pumpkin Butter Cheesecake Squares

Pumpkin Butter:
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup apple juice
2/3 tsp cinnamon
2/3 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2/3 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
100 g (1/2 cup) white sugar (could try with less)

1 cup graham crumbs
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
5 Tbsp (1/3 cup) melted butter

1 package cream cheese
66 g (1/3 cup) white sugar
2 tsp flour
1 egg
3 Tbsp sour cream (I used yogurt)
1 tsp vanilla

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and turn the heat down.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until the butter starts to thicken.  Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge to cool.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Add the crumbs and sugar to the bowl of a food processor.  Blitz to combine.  Drizzle in melted butter and mix until incorporated.  Press into the bottom of a loaf pan, (9x4.5) lined with a piece of parchment paper.

Cream the cheese, sugar and flour together with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix well.  Add the sour cream (yogurt) and vanilla and mix until just combined.  Scrape the cheesecake batter onto the crust and smooth towards the edges.

Add dollops of pumpkin butter in 1 tsp amounts a few inches apart, right up to the edges.  Take a skewer and run it through the pumpkin butter chunks and cheesecake to make swirls.  (Less is more with the swirling, you don't want it to look messy.)

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center is set.  (Jiggles very slightly when moved)  If you over bake your cheesecake will crack (not the end of the world!)  Let cool in the fridge for at least two hours before slicing.

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