I had just one small chunk
of Spiced Pumpkin Bars left, sealed up tight in a zip-top sandwich bag. It
would be just enough to make a dessert for two. Individual cheesecakes. Spiced
Pumpkin Bar for crust. Pumpkin Spice Creme Anglaise on the plate with each
little creamy cake.
The cheesecakes can be baked
in 6- to 8-ounce custard cups or ramekins. Cut rounds of Spiced Pumpkin Bars to
just fit into the bottom of each cup. A few little extra chunks of the bars are
gently folded into the batter before baking. Use of a hot water bath during the
baking process results in a creamier texture as the cheesecakes bake gently and
Creme Anglaise is a classic light
custard sauce and is often the base for homemade ice cream. With the addition
of pumpkin and some seasonal spices, it really kicks these little cheesecakes
up a notch.
I’ve fallen in love with the intense pungent and sweet flavor of
cardamom. I steeped crushed whole cardamom pods in the hot liquid just long
enough to release the flavor into the sauce without overpowering the other
flavors. I also used a vanilla bean, scraping the seeds for wonderful aroma and
flavor. To scrape the seeds from vanilla beans, use the tip of a sharp paring
knife to split the bean down its length. Then use the blade of the knife to
scrape the seeds from the bean. You will have what looks like a thick, dark
paste on your knife. Those are the seeds.
This sauce would be
delicious served over a thick slice of pumpkin bread or gingerbread.
The cheesecakes come
together very quickly. The sauce will take just a little more effort, but the
results make it all worthwhile.
Say good-bye to the Spiced
Pumpkin Bars. I won’t mention them again.
Enjoy this dessert for two
with someone special.
Cheesecake For Two with Spiced Pumpkin Crust
- 6 ounces cream cheese,
- 3 tablespoons sweetened
- 2 tablespoons apple cider or
1 tablespoon apple brandy, such as Calvados
- 1 large egg, at room
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- !/2 cup small cubes of
Spiced Pumpkin Bars (click here for recipe)
- 2 rounds of Spiced Pumpkin
Bars to fit bottom of baking dishes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Coat 2 (6- to 8-ounce) glass custard cups or ramekins with butter. Beat cream
cheese with electric beater until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk and
blend until smooth. Add apple cider or apple brandy, egg and vanilla. Beat
until mixture is smooth. Gently fold in chunks of Spiced Pumpkin Bars.
Place 1 round of Spiced
Pumpkin Bar in the bottom of each prepared baking dish. Divide cream cheese
mixture evenly between the two dishes. Place filled baking dishes in 9-inch
square ovenproof dish. Add hot water to come halfway up sides of custard cups.
Carefully place baking dish in preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or
until cheesecake is just set.
Remove custard cups from
water bath and set on cooling rack. When cheesecakes are thoroughly cooled,
cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
Pumpkin Spice Creme Anglaise
- 1 tablespoon whole cardamom pods, smashed with the side of a knife blade
- 1 (2-inch) piece of vanilla
bean or ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup half-and-half
- ¼ cup granulated sugar,
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¾ teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup solid-packed pure
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
Split vanilla bean with the
tip of a sharp knife. Scrape out the seeds with the knife. Set aside.
Place smashed cardamom pods
with seeds in medium-sized, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until
pods are fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Off the heat, add heavy whipping cream,
half-and-half and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Whisk together and return to
heat. Add vanilla bean. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve
the sugar. Remove from heat. Cover saucepan and allow liquid to steep for 15
Place the egg yolks, the
remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cornstarch in a 4-cup glass measure.
Whisk until thoroughly combined.
Strain the hot liquid to
remove vanilla bean and cardamom pods and seeds. Add ¼ cup hot strained liquid to
yolk mixture and whisk vigorously. Gradually add remaining liquid to the yolk
mixture, continuing to whisk to combine. Pour mixture back into saucepan. Cook
over medium heat until mixture register 185 degrees with an instant-read digital
thermometer. The mixture should not boil.
Remove from heat. Whisk in
pumpkin, seeds from vanilla beans, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour creme anglaise
into a glass storage bowl. Gently push plastic wrap down on surface of sauce, covering
it completely. Refrigerate. Makes about 1½ cups of creme anglaise.
To serve, dip bottom of custard
cups in warm water. Run a grapefruit knife or other sharp knife around the inside
edges of the custard cups, getting down as far as you can go. It helps to run the knife blade under some hot water before doing this procedure. Turn the custard
cup over onto a dessert dish. If the cheesecake does not release from the cup,
dip it into some warm water again.
Serve the cheesecake with Pumpkin
Spice Creme Anglaise.
- Find cardamom pods in the spice area of the natural foods section in the grocery store, at gourmet spice shops or natural food co-ops.
- I like to allow time for the
cheesecakes to come to room temperature and serve it with the chilled creme anglaise.
- If you make a double batch
of this sauce, you can put it into your ice cream maker for a divine frozen