Monday, January 2, 2017

Lemon-Lemon Cheesecake

I found this recipe on Pinterest. The only changes I made were in the filling.  I added 1/2 C. Vanilla Greek yogurt & cut down the heavy cream to 1/4 cup (instead of 1/2 cup called for).  I also used Aldi brand animal cookies (red box) in the crust (measures out to 2 cups of crumbs), since they have a nice lemony flavor.

Lemon Cheesecake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Creamy and rich, this Lemon Cheesecake has a cookie crust and is topped with a tart lemon curd.
Serves: 12-16 minutes
  • 5 ounces animal crackers 
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm
  • 1¼ cups (8¾ oz.) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated zest and ¼ cup juice from 1-2 lemons
  • 1½ pounds (3 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, cut into 1 inch chunks, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
Lemon Curd
  • ⅓ cup juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup (3½ oz.) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Place the oven rack in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
  2. Place the animal crackers in a food processor and pulse until they are fine crumbs. Add in the sugar and pulse again. Add the butter in a steady stream and continue to pulse until the mixture starts to come together, about 10 1-second pulses.
  3. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until it is golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, wrap the pan with 2 18-inch pieces of foil. Set in a roasting pan and set aside.
  4. To make the filling, place ¼ cup of the sugar and the lemon zest in a food processor and process until the sugar turns yellow and fragrant. Add in the remaining sugar and pulse a few times to combine.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese for about 5 seconds. With the mixer on low, add in the lemon sugar in a steady stream, then switch to medium and beat until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, 2 at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions. Add in the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add in the cream and beat to combine, another 5 seconds. Scrape the bowl again to make sure everything has been incorporated and pour into the springform pan.
  6. Place the pan in the oven and carefully add enough water to the roasting pan to make it halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center is slightly giggly and the sides start to puff and the surface is no longer shiny, about 55 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a towel or wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from the roasting pan, remove the foil from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. Run a small paring knife around the edges of the cake and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
  8. While the cheesecake is baking, make the lemon curd. Heat the lemon juice in a small pan over medium heat until it is hot, but not boiling. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Gradually whisk in the sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture, then pour the mixture back into the pan. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170°F, or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until it is melted. Stir in the cream, vanilla and salt. (If you have lumps in the curd, pour through a fine mesh strainer to strain any lumps.) Pour the curd into a small nonreactive bowl. Cover the surface of the curd directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  9. When the cheesecake is cool, top it with the lemon curd while still in the springform pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, but 24 hours is better.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fudge cakes (low carb/no sugar)

If you aren't allergic to tree nuts, we've found that almond meal (almond flour) is a wonderful substitute for flour in making muffins & dessert breads.  My husband is diabetic (insulin-dependent) and has found that his blood sugar levels aren't really affected after eating a muffin. Or two... :)

Heat oven to 350º and line standard sized cupcake/muffin pans with paper liners.  This recipe made 16.

In a bowl, mix together:
2 large eggs
1/3 c lite sour cream
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 T vegetable oil
1 T honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir in:
4 T cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 C almond meal (Trader Joe's is the best @$5.99 LB, which is half the price of meal purchased elsewhere)

If you like, stir in a handful or 2 of sliced almonds or chopped nuts, dried cherries or Craisins... before spooning into papers.

Fill the papers 1/2 way and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Test center with toothpick to make sure they're baked thoroughly.

Remove from pan & cool on wire rack.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spinach Pie

This is my version of a deconstructed kind of spanakopita - it's easy as PIE (pun intended) and delicious!

Heat the oven to 375º. 
Have 4-6 sheets of filo leaves defrosted and covered, ready to use.

In an ovenproof 12"  skillet, heat 8 T butter and once it's melted, remove 2-3 T to a small bowl to use later.
In the remaining butter on medium heat, saute:
1 cup minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups chopped mushrooms (I used standard button mushrooms but any type would be good)

Saute for 10-15 minutes, until wilted, but not browned.  To this, add 16 oz. chopped fresh baby spinach (If you're using frozen chopped spinach, defrost and squeeze ALL the liquid out) and stir, cooking another 5 minutes.  Spoon this mixture into a mixing bowl.

To the spinach mixture, stir in 3 beaten eggs,  1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I used whole & not skim), 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1/4 tsp. fresh minced dill, 1/2 tsp. fresh minced marjoram and S&P to taste.  Add a dash of nutmeg if you like (I don't like).  

Return to skillet making sure you leave some space against the edge of the pan.
Cut the filo leaves in half.  Take one at a time and brush it with melted butter - then layer it onto the spinach mixture.  Do this one at a time (butter side down) and when they're covering the spinach (overlapping onto one another) finish up by tucking the ends under the spinach at the edge of the pan.  Messy and uneven is fine! :)

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or a bit longer if you like the pastry darker.  Remove, cook a bit and cut into wedges. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pumpkin Almond Meal Muffins - Flour & Sugar free

Heat oven to 350º  and place 12 paper liners in a cupcake/muffin pan.

In a  small mixing bowl, combine and mix well and set aside:

1 cup pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
2 Tblsp. honey (OR maple syrup)
2 Tblsp. coconut oil, mekted  (OR vegetable oil)
1 teasp. cider or white vinegar
1 teasp. almond extract

Put dry ingredients into another bowl and stir to combine:

2-1/2 C. almond meal, also called almond flour (do NOT faint at the price - I bought a small cellophane bag at Pete's Market today, approx. 3-1/2 C. and it was ON SALE for $8.50 - $2.50 off the regular price!!  You can make your own almond flour by using skinless, blanched almonds and process them until they become a fine, 'flour-y' powder.)

3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning (or allspice)

Combine the dry and wet ingredients together, mixing gently, yet thoroughly. Don't mix it up too roughly!   If you'd like, at this time mix in a cup of chopped nuts,  dried cranberries and/or craisins to the batter.

Divide the batter equally and spoon into the prepared papers (12)  --- bake in the 350º oven for 16-18 minutes, until the centers are set.  Remove from oven and cool.

*****NOTE*****  Although I haven't tried this (and I WILL, soon!), you can substitute the pumpkin puree with an equal amount of applesauce OR mashed bananas - and then eliminate the almond extract, using grated orange or lemon zest for a complementing flavor. The substitutions will not affect the recipe's outcome!  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Italian Food Chicago Style!!!

Here's a website with some great recipes called, "Shut Up and Mangia!!"  You'll need to C/P it to your browser:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hot Cocoa Cookies

Heat the oven to 350º ... line a few baking sheets with parchment.  

Have a bowl of mini marshmallows ready, approx. 3-4 cups -  you'll be QUICKLY pressing them into par-baked cookies and returning them to bake longer.

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

1 cup soft butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract

2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2=3/4 cups flour

Blend well. Stir in 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded (heaping) tsps. onto parchment, leaving an inch between each cookie (12-15 per pan). 
Bake for 8 MINUTES    - remove from oven and VERY QUICKLY place a few mini marshmallows on top of each cookie and gently press into dough (NOT hard - don't press them down to the bottom of the pan!!)...   return cookies to the oven and bake for an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from oven.  While still warm, gently dust the marshmallows with cocoa powder (I used a small strainer to tap the cocoa powder onto them).  Cool completely before removing from parchment.

Chocolate Raspberry Bars

Lightly grease a 9X13" pan - heat oven to 350º

In a mixing bowl, combine:
1 cup melted butter
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats

Pat HALF the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan (save the rest for the topping).

Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.
Gently spread 1-1/2 C. raspberry preserves over the crust.
Sprinkle with 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips.

Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top (if you like nuts, now's the time to add a half cup or so of chopped walnuts to the crumbs).

Return to the hot oven and bake for an additional 15-18 minutes (until the topping becomes a light golden color).  Remove and cool COMPLETELY before cutting.