If you love cooking – and photographing – food, you’ll have no shortage of new friends online. They could be from some place you’ve never heard of and, within a few keystrokes, you’re bonding over a mutual love of melted cheese or bacon. Or both.
That’s how I met the lovely Kylie, from the blog Midwest Foodie based out of Wisconsin, USA.
We’re both mums, throwing together ridiculously-good-looking food content around a busy household with some pretty cute ‘assistants’ in tow.
Possibly my favourite thing about Kylie is when we talk food differences across our two seemingly similar countries. I find it intriguing that to us here in Australia, American food is so familiar, owing to a misspent childhood in front of the TV.
At thirteen I would have told you all about Sloppy Joes, Root beer floats and Buffalo wings – probably from some episode of Party of Five or Friends – even though I’d never actually tasted any of them!
But over in America, they have very little knowledge of the things we eat… beyond Vegemite, of course. I guess there weren’t that many Aussie shows exported over there. So Kylie and I have fun comparing our traditions and the names we call things – like a biscuit vs a biscuit vs a scone vs a scone. (You might need a diagram for that one!)
And it also gets pretty interesting when you hit pumpkin! I LOVE pumpkin.
As far as I can tell, the pumpkins we Aussies throw in with a roast on Sundays barely get a look-in over in the States, unless it’s for Halloween carving purposes and pumpkin desserts around Thanksgiving. Certainly not as a savoury.
I can’t think of any mainstream sweets that use pumpkin puree; over there it’s so common, you can buy it in a can at the supermarket… or grocery store. Plus, there’s the term ‘squash’ thrown in which, from what I can see, is a butternut pumpkin and considered just a completely different thing altogether.
So with Halloween around the corner, I decided to try Kylie’s famous Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars… which we would call a ‘slice’. I love pumpkin. My mum would often make a sweet pumpkin strudel but, apart from that, I had never really had pumpkin pie or anything like that.
I was PUMPed.
The results were outstanding! Delicious and creamy with a distinct sweetness from the pumpkin meddled with all those warming spices you would expect: cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Yum!
Why then, am I re-blogging this? Because I had to tweak the recipe. Just for a start, I had to make the pumpkin puree from scratch. Then the Gingernut biscuits – which they would call ‘cookies’ – were as hard as concrete. Food processor said ‘no’.
Just in time for Halloween, which is fast becoming a thing in Australia too, here is the recipe for my ‘Aussie’ Pumpkin Cheesecake Slice to accommodate our Antipodean ingredients. Thanks so much, Kylie, for sharing this with me. I’ll definitely be making this again soon.
- Half a butternut pumpkin, about 500g
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 packet Butternut Snap biscuits
- 200g toasted pecans
- ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
- 150g melted butter
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 blocks of cream cheese (500g) at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- Peel the pumpkin and cut into large chunks. Steam over a pot of boiling water and then leave to cool.
- Puree the pumpkin along with the maple syrup and place aside.
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a small rectangular baking tin (approx. 20cm x 30cm) with baking paper.
- Process the Butternut Snaps, toasted pecans and ginger in a food processor.
- Add boiling water and melted butter.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared tin.
- Whip the room temperature cream cheese in a mixer until soft and creamy.
- Add eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, salt and spices, mixing until just combined but colour is uniform.
- Pour over the prepared base and bake for 30 mins.
- Once the cheesecake is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool before placing into the fridge.
- Use a warm knife to slice into rectangles, wiping blade between cuts.