Seasons by the Sea 10.13.11

Smoky Pumpkin Soup
    This recipe is adapted from the “Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook.”
    Serves six.

6 slices bacon, diced, cooked crisp, fat reserved
4 Tbsp. butter
6 cups peeled, cut up pumpkin (1-inch pieces)
6 cups beef stock
1/2 cup Marsala
1 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish (recipe below)

    Heat bacon fat and butter in stock pot over medium high heat. Add pumpkin and sauté for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Pour stock into stock pot and simmer, covered, until pumpkin is very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
    Add Marsala, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Process soup in batches in blender until smooth. Return to stock pot.
    Add bacon, simmer 10 minutes. Serve garnished with pumpkin seeds.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds:
Seeds of 1 pumpkin
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt, to taste

    Rinse seeds to remove strings and pulp and pat dry with paper towels. Spread seeds on baking sheet and let stand for several hours to dry.
    Preheat oven to 350. Toss seeds with oil and salt. Toast in oven, tossing every five minutes, until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool. Serve as snack and garnish.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
    This is my own recipe for pumpkin cheesecake. Baked in a 10-inch spring-form pan, it should serve 10 to 12 people. It’s rich!

Crust:
1/2 box Nabisco Ginger Snaps, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
    Combine these ingredients and press gently into bottom of spring-form pan.
Filling:
1 lb. cream cheese
1 cup sugar, divided, 3/4 for cream cheese, 1/4 for egg whites
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
6 eggs, separated
2 cups pumpkin purée, spiced with 2 Tbsp. ginger and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon

    In food processor or mixer combine cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar. Add flour, salt, vanilla, and egg yolks. Combine well, then add spiced pumpkin mixture.
    Whip egg whites with remaining sugar to soft peaks. Fold this gently into pumpkin mixture.
    Put into springform pan and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 40 to 55 minutes, or until skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Sorry, this cheesecake does crack sometimes, but it sure is good.