Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Woot woot, dinner party

So I was pinning stuff (if you haven't heard of pinterest, search for it...and don't blame me), and I came across a fall menu for a dinner party. I was immediately intrigued and FB-messaged these girls I know and was all "hey, we haven't gotten together lately...whatcha doin this weekend?" sly, right?

And of course one of them is on pinterest so she was enjoying my dinner party pins, which included this little gem here. I was perusing the menu as well, which included:

Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle


Caramel-Apple Cheesecake

Coffee, tea

Oh God...it was like a fallgasm. And only after I pinned and read and re-read the recipe for the chicken and pesto farfalle did I realize...I made it already. In 2008.


Hmm. Well at least I know it's good! So I volunteered to do the pasta and dessert, and the ladies volunteered to fill in the rest. Mags baked bread (we had the leftover bread tonight, it made our hamburger helper blush), and Lars came packing heat with some fan-freaking-tastic cheese with roasted vegetables in the cheese - yeah, I know, I thought cheese was only for hiding pills you want the dog to take too - and scallops with an apple-cider reduction. I think. She basically just waved her hands in the kitchen and things danced and sang like in Beauty and the Beast. I heart my friends.

Anyway, I digress - to the cheesecake:

Caramel-Apple Cheesecake
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 cookie sheets)
1 tablespoon egg white
1 tablespoon water
Cooking spray
{I did not measure the egg white, and added too much, and ended up coating a spoon with butter and pressing my crust down that way because it stuck to my fingers}

1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup light sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1 3/4 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 8 ounces)
Dash of nutmeg
{and I totally forgot the half-and-half too...so I substituted my coffee creamer}

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. To prepare crust, combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl; toss with a fork until moist. Press mixture lightly into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 6 minutes. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack. Wrap outside of pan with a double layer of foil. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
3. To prepare cheesecake, place 1 3/4 cups sugar and next 7 ingredients (through fat-free cream cheese) in food processor; process until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time; process until blended. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan. Place springform pan in a large roasting pan; add hot water to larger pan to a depth of 1 inch.
4. Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Remove from oven; let stand in water bath 10 minutes. Run a knife around outside edge of cheesecake. Remove pan from water bath; cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
5. To prepare topping, combine 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons water, and lemon juice in a small, heavy saucepan; cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Cook 4 minutes or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat. Add butter to pan; gently stir until butter melts. Stir in half-and-half. Cool slightly.
6. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add apple to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in sugar mixture and nutmeg. Serve topping with cheesecake.

I used my mom's trick instead of the water bath - bake as usual, after one hour, turn the oven off, put a stick in the oven door, and let sit for one hour. And of course, there was a crack down the middle...but I covered it with not-quite-caramelized apples so it was all good.


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