Friday, January 18, 2013

Shaker Citrus Cheesecake Tart

As memory serves me, it seemed that winters in Upstate New York involved day after day of grey skies. The last few winters have been spent in Salt Lake City, where grey skies were replaced with sunny ones, though muddled with the fog of our dreaded January inversion. In times when it's difficult to find some sunny clear skies, it is comforting to know that winter's seasonal fruits are bright and sunny themselves. So, here we have it: Shaker Citrus Cheesecake Tart.

In addition to being an answer to a need for some sunshine, this dessert was inspired by shaker lemon pie. It is a thin layer of creamy cheesecake, enveloped by a spicy-sweet gingersnap crust and sugared winter citrus slices. It is just what you need in these gloomy days :)

Shaker Citrus Cheesecake Tart
Makes one 9" round tart

for the topping:
1 orange, sliced as thin as you can get it
1 lemon, sliced in the same way
1/2 cup sugar

for the crust:
6 oz gluten-free gingersnap cookies, finely crushed
1/2 cup walnuts, ground
4 tablespoons butter, melted

for the filling:
12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
citrus-syrup goodness (leftover from the soaking fruit . . . you'll see)

For the citrus, place lemon and orange slices in a  shallow container and sprinkle with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours, turning the container over once.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

For the crust, stir together crushed cookies, nuts, and butter. Press crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" tart pan. Bake 8 minutes.

In a mixer with the paddle attachment or a food processor, cream the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla bean powder and heavy cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, combining in between each addition. Drain the sugar-y syrup from the container of citrus into the cheesecake batter, reserving the slices. Pour batter into crust.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and raise the temperature to 400 degrees F. Carefully arrange citrus slices on top of the cheesecake. Return to the oven and bake 15 minutes more, or until the center jiggles just a bit.

Cool cheesecake to room temperature, about two hours. Refrigerate at least one hour before consuming. Consume the WHOLE thing, even the slices-that's why you soaked them! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chunky Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

There is something intensely comforting to me about oatmeal raisin cookies. On their own, I find raisins completely disgusting, but wrapped up in a buttery and chewy oatmeal cookie, they are completely delightful and remind me of warm and cozy days.

The end of 2012 came with some heavy-hearted news, across the country and in my own hometown and own community. It also came with some intensely cold weather that has turned me into more of an introvert than I could ever imagine I'd be. That being said, I've needed some comfort. And nothing says comfort to me like a soft and chewy cookie filled with raisins, walnuts, and coconut. Cookies can make things at least a little better. I believe that.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

Things I love about very early mornings:
1. Coffee
2. Breakfast
3. Quiet

Things I hate about very early mornings:
1. Almost everything else.

Considering my list of things to love hours before the sun comes up is very short, I like to make sure I have the best of the best of all of these things. To be the best, breakfast should be both healthy and delicious. These quinoa muffins are both.

Packed with lots of protein from the quinoa and almond meal and antioxidants from the blueberries, these muffins are a fantastic way to start your day. And if you were wondering about the coffee, it's almost always the charmingly tasty Charming Beard Coffee

Blueberry Quinoa Muffins
makes 6 large or 12 standard muffins

1 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup frozen blueberries

For the topping:
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoons grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F for large muffin tins or 350 degrees F for standard muffin tins. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Stir together dry ingredients. Make a well in the center. Place eggs, vanilla, honey, oil, and applesauce into the well and stir together. Fold into the dry ingredients just until combined. Gently stir in blueberries. Divide batter between muffin tins. Make the topping:

Rinse quinoa in cold water. Stir together all ingredients and divide topping between muffins. Bake 30-35 minutes for large muffins or 20-25 minutes for standard ones.

About Me

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Salt Lake City, Utah
As a pastry chef by trade and by hobby, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease has not been easy. But through some experimental baking and a whole lot of faith, I'm living a full(er) life.