farmstead chefs & pumpkin cheesecake

posted December 21, 2011

A guest post and a delicious recipe from the authors the Farmstead Chef Cookbook!

Out to Turn Everyone into Farmstead Chefs
From Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko, Farmstead Chef

Featuring Severine von Tscharner Fleming in the “Kitchen Table Talks” section, in our new Farmstead Chef cookbook you’ll quickly discover we’re on a mission to get more people back into the kitchen and on a first name basis with their farmers, beekeepers, butchers and bakers.  Farmstead Chef reveals how more Americans than ever are “farmsteadtarians.”

Besides The Greenhorns, Farmstead Chef profiles our farmer and food activist friends around the country.  From the founders of Happy Girl Kitchen and Pie Ranch to Chef Bryant Terry and Roger Doiron of Kitchen Gardeners International, these inspiring stories of young innovators have made healthy, affordable and delicious food a national security priority — as it should be.

Whether to taste fresh, save some money, eat more nutritious foods, rebuild a community economy or cut some carbon from our lifestyle, millions of Americans are joining the great food movement at farmers’ markets or as shareholders of sustainably operated, local farms.   

Our Farmstead Chef cookbook provides more than 150 recipes to turn anyone’s kitchen into a creative place for preparing delicious meals to share with family and friends.  It helps make connections to the farmers as well as tips and unique techniques, like using a solar oven to bake the bread found on our table.  There’s even a Stocking the Pantry list that covers all the ingredients you’d need for any recipe in the cookbook.

For us, our farmers and food artisans are the heroes in America.  They’re doing the hard work — what Wendell Berry calls “good work” — that nourishes our nation.  Unlike Jefferson’s vision of a nation of yeoman farmers largely relegated to the countryside, however, we recognize and support a nation of farmers everywhere — on urban rooftops, in suburban lots or at the end of a country lane, with everyone tied together again by what’s being served on their plate.  Fresh.  Local.  Seasonal.  Delicious.

So, greenhorns, kick back and enjoy the harvest bounty  (we sometimes forget this, with the never ending list of farm projects to get done)… We savor what we grow with a delicious, farm-fresh, seasonal dessert, like our cheesecake.

Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake
From the Farmstead Chef cookbook by Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko, featuring The Greenhorns.
Pumpkin and mousse seem like dance partners from different dessert planets.  Drop a pumpkin on your toe and it will hurt.  A mousse, by its culinary definition, whips air bubbles into something to make it light and fluffy.  Try this recipe and you’ll never return to that flat and heavy traditional pumpkin pie again.  It may score some points with the in-laws over the holidays, too.
Ingredients:
Crust ingredients:
About 12 graham crackers (See Farmstead Chef for a homemade graham cracker recipe)
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
Cream cheese layer ingredients:
1 package cream cheese, softened (8 oz.)
2 eggs
¾ c. sugar
Pumpkin layer ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
2 c. cooked pumpkin purée
½ c. sugar
½ c. milk
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
¼ c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 c. whipped cream for topping (optional)
Directions:
•  Prepare graham cracker crust by crushing crackers in a food processor.  You can also place crackers in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.  This should result in about 1 1/3 cups of graham crackers.  Keep crumbs in food processor and mix in ¼ c. sugar.  Drizzle in 1/3 c. melted butter until crumbs clump together.  Press into a lightly oiled 9-inch springform pan.
•  Next, prepare the cream cheese layer.  In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Beat in eggs and sugar, one at a time, until well blended.
•  Spread cream cheese mixture over crust and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until firm.  Cool completely.
•  For pumpkin layer, separate the three eggs.  In a saucepan, mix egg yolks with pumpkin and cook over medium heat until thickened.  To that pumpkin mixture, add ½ c. sugar, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Turn off heat and let sit on burner for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool completely.
•  In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.  Add remaining ¼ c. sugar and beat until well blended.  Fold egg whites into pumpkin mixture and pour this pumpkin layer over the cream cheese layer.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until set.
•  Cool completely and chill overnight before serving.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Yield: 12 servings.

Check out the Farmstead Chef book trailer (link to: http://youtu.be/hkZLDEJLdZA) or find them on Facebook or more about the book, including recipes and resources, on farmsteadchef.com.