Bacon Cheesecake with an assist from The Bacon Goddess

Bacon cheesecake is fleeting.

Bacon cheesecake is fleeting.

This is a recipe for a bacon cheesecake. If you like bacon, and you like cheesecake, you’re welcome…

This recipe is a combination of 2 different recipes with elements coming from the Bacon Goddess and other elements coming from the Baby Screamin its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruinin my Life Pie, which is also posted on my blog.

This was created for a Friday afternoon gathering at my place of employment. It went over well. I’m not going to pull your leg, this is damn good.

The Bacon!:

10-12 strips (about 1 lb.) of thick-cut bacon, as lean as possible

Prep:

Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Cover a sheet pan in tin foil. Lay out the strips on your sheet and make sure they aren’t touching. They’ll stick together and won’t cook. Bake  it 15-20 minutes or until it looks crisp. Remove from oven and place on a plate with paper towels on it so it can cool and crisp. Once cooled, put it into a food processor and pulse it a couple of times so you have your crumble. Set aside.

Set your bacon grease aside. You’ll need it for your crust.

The crust!:

2c (about 2 packages) of graham crackers

2tbsp brown sugar

4tbsp butter, unsalted and melted

2tbsp bacon grease

About 3 tbsp bacon crumble (this isn’t science, you can use your judgement)

Prep:

Set oven to 350F. Liberally grease a 9 inch spring form pan. Break up your graham crackers into food processor and blend until fine. Add sugar and mix. Add melted butter and bacon grease and blend until it looks coarse. Add bacon crumble and pulse until blended. Dump your mix into spring form and press along bottom and up the sides a bit. Place on center rack of oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want to burn it. Remove from oven and let cool completely. It should be cooled by the time you’re ready to pour the filling.

Keep your oven at 350F…

The filling!:

I'm cute AND delicious!

I’m cute AND delicious!

32oz. (4 8 ounce packages) cream cheese at room temperature

1 3/4c white sugar

2 tbsp vanilla extract

5 eggs

1 egg yolk

3/4 of your remaining bacon crumble

Prep:

In a large mixing bowl, blend your cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add bacon crumble and combine. Add one egg at a time to your mix and blend just until combined. Don’t over blend, you get too much air in your mix and the cheesecake will fall. Add yolk and blend until combined. Scrape the sided with a rubber spatula and blend to make sure your filling is mixed well.

Grease the side of your spring form above the crust line.

Pour your filling into the spring form.

On the bottom rack of your oven, place a pan with about an inch of water in the pan. This helps reduce the possibility of cracks in the side and top of your cheesecake.  Place your cheesecake on the rack above the water pan.

For the results I got, bake for 42 minutes at 350F. At 42 minutes, open your oven,  take your remaining bacon crumble, and spread evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Put back in oven and bake an additional 3 minutes.  By now, your cheesecake should be a golden brown around the edges.

Turn off oven and remove cheesecake. Run a thin knife around inner edge of spring form so cheesecake properly detaches from pan as it cools. Put it back in oven and leave the door cracked, about 40 minutes. This allows it to finish baking as its cooling. Remove and chill in fridge about 3 hours or until you are ready to eat one of the best desserts you’ll have in your life:)

Bacon Cheesecake2

Uncle Nettie’s Secret Weapon

Andre photo bombs the secret weapon

Welcome through the doorway and into the holiday season. This recipe, a cherry pie baked into the center of a cheesecake, was created for a Halloween bake-off at work. I didn’t win any prizes for this although it was a dessert that disappeared.

This concoction is dedicated to a friend who recently flamed out. I found out the day I made this that he had decided to make the jump. In front of a train. A crazy pie for a wild and crazy guy (who was also ring bearer at my wedding). RIP Paul Addis, you would have liked this one, my friend. It’s called Uncle Nettie’s Secret Weapon…

You will need a 9 inch pie tin and a 10 inch spring form for this concoction. A food processor and a hand-held electric mixer would be helpful too.

Move your oven rack to a lower position. Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

The Crust:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

10 tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

3 tbsp. cold water

In a food processor, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and blend using on/off turns. Process until coarse meal forms. Add water and blend using on/off turns. Add water by teaspoon if dough seems dry.

Butter or vegetable oil the inside of a 9 inch pie pan. A smaller pie tin would probably be best as you want to make sure the pie you put in the cake is a bit smaller and more dense. Dense is key as you don’t want the pie to come apart in transfer.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12 inch diameter circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Clip the dough to the edge of the pie tin. No need to flute or crimp the edges, it’s going into in a cheesecake.

Line the crust with foil and place dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10-15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the crust is a light brown. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, create a tin foil collar for your crust, making sure your edges are covered. You don’t want to burn the edge when you bake the pie with the filling.

The Pie Filling:

2 16 oz. cans (equal to 4 cups) TART cherry pie filling

1/4 cup granulated white sugar, or as needed

2 1/2 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. cherry brandy

Place the cherries in a large bowl. Add the sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix with a large wooden or plastic spoon until joined. Pour the mixture into the baked pie shell. Spread the cherry filling to the tin foil collar.

Bake at 425F, for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake an extra 25-30 minutes.

Place on wire rack. Let cool completely. Transfer to fridge and allow 1-2 hours to chill. Two hours would be optimal.

Ready for the taste test

The Cheesecake:

4 8-oz. cream cheese (low-fat or regular), softened

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 3/4 cup white sugar

1/8 cup cornstarch

1 fluid oz. (shot) Cherry Brandy

1 tsp. vanilla extract

5 eggs

1 egg yolk

Bring all ingredients to room temperature.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap outside of 10-inch spring form pan with foil. Butter the inside of your spring form.

In large bowl, blend cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in sugar and cornstarch. Blend in sour cream and whipping cream. Add cherry brandy and vanilla. Stir in eggs and egg yolk one or two at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.

Pour half the batter into your spring form. Separate your chilled pie from the pie tin (we lined a plate with plastic wrap and turned the pie upside to separate). Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the pie. Place the pie into the cheese cake mix. Pour the remaining batter over the top of the pie. Place the spring form in another pan at least 1 inch wider and add at least one inch of water to outside pan (prevents cracks in sides of the cheesecake). Bake on center rack for approx. 80-90 minutes or until the top of your cheesecake is a golden brown.

Turn oven off and let cool with door open for 1 hour. Remove cake from water and chill at least 3 hours before removing cake from spring form pan.

We sampled some before I brought it in to work just to be sure it was ok;) My wife liked the tartness of the cherry pie. The kids didn’t. I thought it could be a little more sweet but that’s my taste. The cheesecake itself seemed a bit flat and not as fluffy as your usual cheesecake. Then again, it had a pie in the middle of it.

My recommendation would be to add your own flavor to this and build on the beta version of this creation.

Shine on, Paul. You will always be in my heart.

And Pie #52…The Cherry Bomb

Before I start on my pie blog swan song, I’d like to send healing thoughts and hope for a speedy recovery to my Aunt Judy in Nashville who’s very ill. Please get well soon.

The cherry bomb cleverly disguised as a chocolate cake

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you:)

A year ago I decided to do a pie a week and blog about it. It’s been an experience part exciting, boring, humorous, fun, not-so-fun, and an all-around pleasant learning experience (I still need to work on my crust skills though…). For those of you who followed along, thank you. Thank you for asking me how things were going and staying interested. And in doing so, keeping me interested. 

I hope you’ve used this small library of classic and unique recipes and I also hope you had an even better go of it than I did:) I also hope you continue to use it. For anyone coming along after the fact, thank you for looking around. I hope you find something that you would like to try, and something that you enjoy.

This has also been a marker of time and happenings in the past year. Nothing too crazy but certainly some sadness and some excellent times, and everything in between. As it should be, it has been a mix. It also marks a transition. It’s re-kindled my desire to get out and do new things. So, I will shortly be fostering of a reasonable number of Siamese cats and volunteering with Austin Siamese Rescue and Austin Pets Alive! Joining me on this adventure is my lovely wife. Yay! Doing good deeds together:) Maybe I can blog about that too.

Pie number 52 was something I couldn’t think of a good name for. So I asked my friends on that-social-network-thing for a name and gave them the description; a cherry pie baked inside a chocolate cake and frosted with a semi-sweet chocolate and sour cream frosting. I got some good names and umm, some abstract. I decided to go with The Cherry Bomb. It has a nice ring to it. Thanks Heidi.

My final concoction is inspired by Kate Orenberg over at Summer of Pie. You can find her story of the epic Capownie here. I initially wanted to do her recipe, which is 6 pages long. It also requires baking tools I couldn’t McGyver. So I went with a toned down version of her larger concept and created a flavor concoction that my wife came up with. My recipe was 3 pages, which makes sense. Kate created a double-decker. And she did it over the course of a week. I just didn’t have that kind of time.

I started putting this together Wednesday at 8am. I finished it around 9:30pm. In between, I also made Baby-Screamin its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruinin my Life Pie, helped Tammi braise a turkey, and did a couple of other things to get my Thanksgiving on.  This modipied creation was a bit of work but, after sampling the wares as it was coming together, I think this is going to rock.

The Crust!:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

10 tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

3 tbsp. cold water

In a food processor, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and blend using on/off turns. Process until coarse meal forms. Add water and blend using on/off turns. Add water by teaspoon if dough seems dry. Gather dough into a ball, flatten and chill for at least one hour.

Kinda looks like a cherry filled brownie in this picture

Line the inside of a 9 inch pie pan with tin foil. Wrap the edges down and under the side of the tin. A smaller pie tin would probably be best as you want to make sure the pie you put in the cake is a bit smaller and more dense. Dense is key, you don’t want the pie to come apart in transfer. That would be no bueno.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12 inch diameter circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Trim the edges to 1/2 inch off side. Fold the extra dough under the edge. Don’t worry about fluting or crimping your edge. Nobody is going to see it unless they excavated their cake.  Chill at least an hour.

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Line the crust with foil and place dried beans or pie weights. Bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the crust is a light brown. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, create a tin foil collar  for your crust, making sure your edges are covered. You don’t want to burn the edge.

The Filling!:

2 16 oz. cans (equal to 4 cups) cherry pie filling

1/4 cup granulated white sugar, or as needed

2 1/2 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. cherry brandy

Place the cherries in a large bowl. Add the sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix with a large wooden or plastic spoon until joined. Pour the mixture into the baked pie shell. Spread the cherry filling to the tin foil collar.

Bake at 425F, for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake an extra 25-30 minutes.

Place on wire rack. Let cool completely. Transfer to fridge and allow at least an hour to chill. Two hours would be better. It really needs to set.

Chocolate Cake!:

3 cups cake flour

3 cups sugar

½   tsp. baking soda

1½   tsp. salt

¾ tsp. baking powder

1 cup water

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup shortening

3 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

6 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled ( use a microwave safe bowl, and nuke it for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Not a cherry filled brownie.

Spray oil and flour 10 inch springform pan, removing excess flour.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Blend for 30 seconds on low-speed, stopping to scrape sides and bottom of bowl occasionally.

Beat for 3 minutes at medium speed.

Pour enough batter to have a ½ inch platform to allow pie to sit on. Bake 5-10 minutes or until batter is just firm enough to hold pie.

Unwrap the tin foil collar from the crust. Using the tin foil you lined your pie tin with, loosen and lift the cherry pie from your pie tin. Transfer your cooled cherry pie to the 10 inch springform pan.

Pour remaining batter into srpingform. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Let cool for at least 4 hours. Using a butter knife, run along outer edge of cake to separate from the springform. Remove springform. Place back in fridge until you are ready to frost.

The Frosting!:

1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

In a medium sauce pan, let chips slowly melt over low heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. It’s ready to spread.

Remove your cherry occupied cake from the fridge and frost away. When done, you should have some extra frosting. Find a good cookie and dip that bad boy into the remaining frosting and enjoy.

I had a small gathering of friends eager to see the result and it turned out quite well. I actually had pie-parazzi snapping photos and videos of the cutting of the cake. Kinda felt like I was at my wedding again:) The entire thing was dense but had a good flavor and the chocolate/cherry mix really was the bomb. I have some left over if you want to stop by and try it:)

I’m so glad I did this. I have the disherprin. I may do a few more recipes periodically depending on what I find, or what I feel I can make up. But for now, I have achieved the goal I set for myself and this makes me happy. Have a great holiday season and take care.

Pie #51 – Home Made Pumpkin Pie

This has been a pretty lazy weekend. The only item of note is that myself and my wife are now volunteers with Austin Pets Alive! We have the t-shirts to prove it:) We’re looking at a couple of different areas to help out, but we’re pretty interested in fostering some cats. She would also like to do

It’s homemade. So much better.

the kitten bottle feeding thing with the kids. They will probably love that. Onward toward something new…

We’re pretty close to Thanksgiving so I decided this would be a good weekend to make pie number 51, homemade pumpkin pie. I made the pumpkin purée from scratch. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and, besides some minor spillage drama, it went well. If you are so inclined, I highly recommend this one…

The crust!:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

10 tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

3 tbsp. cold water

In a food processor, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and blend using on/off turns. Process until coarse meal forms. Add water and blend using on/off turns. Add water by teaspoon if dough seems dry. Gather dough into a ball, flatten and chill for at least one hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 13 inch diameter circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Trim the edges to 1/2 inch off side. Fold the extra dough under the edge and flute or crimp your edge. Chill at least an hour.

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Line the crust with foil and place dried beans or pie weights. Bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the crust is a light brown. Set aside to cool.

While the crust cools its jets, you can make your pie filling.

The filling!:

1 medium size pumpkin that should yield one cup of purée

2 tbsp. corn syrup

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1-1/2  tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

2 eggs, separated

1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup milk (1%, 2%, or whole, your choice)

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. Captain Morgan Coconut Rum, pouring liberally (because I’m liberal, if you’re conservative, you can pour conservatively)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

To make the purée, Cut your pumpkin in half.  Clean seeds and string at core. Fill microwave safe dish with 1/2 to 1 cup water and place your halved pumpkins in the dish, with core facing up. Cover in plastic wrap and microwave on “Vegetable” setting. Approximately 7 minutes or until very tender. Remove from microwave and, using a spoon, separate the meat from the rind. Put immediately into a large bowl and using a mixer, blend until smooth.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.

In the mixing bowl with the purée, combine all ingredients except the egg whites.

Blend mixture for one minute.  Fold in the egg whites and pour into the pie shell.  Bake for 10 minutes then  reduce heat to 350 degrees.  Bake an extra 30 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

This pie is so good. Fresh pumpkin is so much better than canned. It also got a big thumbs up from the kids. A friend was here to sample the pie as well. He wants to make it for the Thanksgiving dinner we’ll be hosting here at the house. I’m more than happy to have someone else carry that torch:) I still need to make one more. One more!!! And that one will be a simpler version of something that my friend over at Summer of Pie has done. You’ll have to guess which one.

To the finish line…

Pie #50 – Mocha Bavarian Cream Pie

Pie 50 is chocolate, Mmmmm, chocolate.

Welcome to the Holiday Season. Only 2 months until Xmas. Olivia is diligently loading Christmas music to her iPod as I type. She wants to hear it but no one else in the house has that enthusiasm. I also hear at least one friend already has the tree up and most of the holiday shopping done. The shopping thing is pretty smart. As long as you don’t keep shopping. The tree, I hope you enjoy.

Pie 50 is a selection from my wife, who went old-skool and pulled this from a cookbook on our bookshelf. It’s from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. It’s 1996 new. It’s a no-bake, cream pie in the Bavarian tradition. Meaning something with chocolate in it.

The crust!:

2 cups walnut, pecans or almonds (I used all 3)
3 tbsp. sugar
2 slightly beaten egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 375F. In a food processor, blend nuts and sugar until fine. Add egg whites and blend until joined. Pour mixture into 9 inch pie plate and using a spatula, press into bottom and up sides. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust appears dry. Set aside to cool.

The filling!:

1/2 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups milk
2 oz. unsweetened bakers chocolate, chopped
2 tsp. instant coffee crystals
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whipping cream

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and gelatine, stir in milk. Add chocolate and coffee crystals. Cook over medium heat until gelatin dissolves and chocolate melts.

In a mixing bowl, slightly beat egg yolks. Gradually, stir in half the gelatin mixture into egg yolks. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Chill gelatin mixture for 30 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold into your gelatin mixture. Continue to chill until filling mounds when spooned. Transfer filling to pie crust. Garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.

Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or until set. Or until you can’t take waiting anymore. Hopefully, for at least 3 hours.

I had a slice and found that the crust overpowers the filling. For me it’s not chocolatey enough. But I do like the pudding texture of the pie and the taste of the crust. I’d add some sweetened chocolate if I were to do it again.

As an aside, last Friday we welcomed a new, feline member to our family. King Solomon, the 3 legged Lynx Siamese, I say hello again to you. Solomon was found through Austin Siamese Rescue as a courtesy listing from O’Malley Alley Cat Rescue of Nacogdoches, Texas. I did an online foster through Save A Pet on Facebook and after a time just decided he would be well-tended to in our home. My wife and the kids agreed. Solomon, you will be loved but you need some company…