Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Are you still trying to decide on apple pie or pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving dessert? Why not break with tradition this year and make a pumpkin cheesecake? Or include it among your offerings of sweet endings to the seasonal meal. It serves lots of people, and would be a great offering to take if you're invited somewhere for the holiday. You can make it a day ahead of time and forget about last minute dessert prep (it should be refrigerated at least six hours after baking). Yes, it is highly caloric, but it's a once-a-year indulgence, and who's counting calories on Thanksgiving? You can start dieting next Friday.
After pouring the batter into the crust, wrap the springform pan in two layers of aluminum foil, and bake in a bain marie (water bath).
That helps to ensure even baking with no cracks in the middle of the cheesecake.

Let it cool overnight, then decorate with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

A little goes a long way since it's quite rich, but I guarantee people will be asking for seconds!
Happy Thanksgiving.

Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).

Pumpkin Cheesecake

printable recipe here

From "My Baking Addiction" website


2 cups graham cracker crumbs

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin puree

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Whipped cream for topping, plus a sprinkling of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, granulated sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.
Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fluffy; about 3 minutes.
Add in eggs, pumpkin and heavy cream, mix until fully incorporated; scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Finally, add in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and mix until well combined.
Pour batter into prepared crust.
Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
Bake 60 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have some jiggle to it.
At this point, crack the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. After one hour has passed, carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Once the cake is completely cooled, place it into the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
Decorate with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon on top.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Cappellacci stuffed with pumpkin

As the calendar moves toward Thanksgiving, many of you are starting to plan your meal for the big feast. In many Italian-American households, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a pasta first course. With so many squash and pumpkins in markets right now, it makes sense to use this delicious seasonal vegetable as part of your meal. I used a "cheese" pumpkin for this since it's much more flavorful than the Halloween jack o'lanterns. But another combination I love to use is mashed sweet potato mixed with butternut squash. To me, the taste is closest to the squash you find in Italy. You choose, depending on your preference and what's available where you live.

Making your own pasta may seem daunting, but the use of a food processor really speeds things along. Instructions below will guide you to make about six or seven dozen cappellacci. You can prepare everything ahead of time, then freeze the filled pasta in a single layer on a cookie sheet. When they're frozen, remove and place in a bag for the freezer, and you can pull them out right before you cook them.

Here's the technique: Take a teaspoon or so of the filling and drop it into a round of dough (I use a biscuit cutter to make the circles, but the rim of a glass works well too.)

Moisten one half of the edge of the circle and fold it over from the middle.

Then pick up the semi circle and pinch the ends together.

Squeeze to secure the ends. It helps if you use a dab of water.

Then flip up the edges to form a cappellaccio (from the Italian word for hat "cappello.")

Click on the video below for a demonstration of how to shape the cappellacci.

Once you get the hang of it, it won't take long to make enough for your meal.

Boil them in abundant water right from the freezer if you've made them ahead of time.

Serve with a simple sauce of butter, sage and parmesan cheese.

Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).

Cappellacci Stuffed With Pumpkin


FOR THE PASTA: (makes about 75-80 cappellacci)

2 cups 00 flour

3-4 eggs, depending on humidity


1 cup cooked and mashed pumpkin (or squash or a combo of sweet potato and squash), drained overnight

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

4 amaretti cookies, crushed

a few gratings of nutmeg

salt, pepper to taste


1 1/4 sticks tablespoons butter

fresh sage leaves

parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Mix all the stuffing ingredients together and set aside while you make the pasta.
Using a food processor, add three of the eggs to the flour and whir together.
The mixture should start to form a ball, but if it looks too dry, add another egg.
Keep whirring until you have a mixture that will hold together when you press it with your fingers, but is not so wet that it is real sticky.
If it's too sticky, add more flour.
Dump it onto a floured board and knead it a bit till it easily forms a ball.
Let it rest at least a half hour to loosen the glutens and make it easier to work.
Roll it out by hand or with a pasta rolling machine, to one or two points thicker than the thinnest setting.
Cut circles using a glass or biscuit cutter, about three inches in diameter.
Place a small amount of filling in the center of the dough, moisten the bottom edge and fold in half, encasing the filling.
Using your fingers, moisten one edge of the cappellacci, then wrap it around your index finger, and let the two edges overlap a little.
Press them together securely and flip up the edges.
Boil and serve with butter melted and flavored with sage leaves.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
Cook within a few hours of making the cappellacci or store covered in refrigerator overnight.