Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Posted in Cheesecakes,Desserts by Paul Gauche on November 11, 2011

Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, I make a list of the things that simply must appear on the Thanksgiving table. That list, of course, includes all of the standards. But this year we’ll certainly be adding this pumpkin cheesecake to the festivities. Oh, my…

The first weekend in November brought me a couple of days to “play” in the kitchen; some time to try out some new things for Thanksgiving. I’d surveyed several recipes for pumpkin cheesecakes and decided the one from The Brown Eyed Baker looked most promising. I was especially curious about the crust made with ginger snaps since I’ve been known to cruise through most of a bag of those things with a glass of milk.

I prepared the cheesecake on Friday evening and then set in the refridgerator to ‘cure’. On Sunday afternoon around the table with severl friends, this pumpkin cheesecake made its appearance and did not dissapoint one little bit.

Silky. Smooth. Dense. Remarkable.

So give this a try. You may want to even try a test run on some friends and then preapre it again for Thanksgiving. It’s worth the effort–it’s that good! The only really tricky thing is making sure that you wrap the springform pan with foil effectively enough so that the water bath doesn’t seep into the crust. Take your time with that. And make sure you save enough gingersnaps to dunk in a glass of milk while you’re preaparing the crust. Whoa…

Ingredients for the Crust ~

  • 2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about a 14-oz package of cookies, or less if you just want to dunk some into some milk while you’re preparing this treat)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for the Cheesecake ~

  • 32 ounces cream chees, (4 packages) at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups (about a 15-oz can) canned pumpkin (do not use pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 ½ tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

Method ~

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Double-wrap the bottom and outside of a 9-inch springform pan with heavy duty foil making sure the water bath to come will not seep into the pan. Take your time making sure you’ve done this well. Mix together the ingredients for the crust and press them into the bottom of the springform pan. A good way to do this is to take a drinking glass and using the bottom, lightly tap/pat the crust evenly into the pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Bring a pan of water to a boil for a water bath. Beat together the cream cheese and the sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix on low until completely mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, cloves and allspice and mix on low to mix well.

Pour the batter into the prepared crust. At this point you will firmly but carefully tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan into a larger pan (a roasting pan works really well for this) and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until it is about halfway up the springform pan.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until the edges are set, but the middle still jiggles a little. Do not open the oven door at any point in this process.

Keeping the oven door closed, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven, carefully remove it from the water bath, remove the foil and place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool completely, about an additional 2 hours. Once the pumpkin cheesecake is completely cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. It’s best to let it set overnight.

You may want to garnish with a light sprinkling of crushed ginger snaps. Serve and enjoy!


Carrot Cake

Posted in Desserts by Paul Gauche on April 9, 2011
The power of suggestion…

Just this past week I received a card in the mail with a picture of a carrot cake muffin on the front. Nancy Lee and I looked at it and then at each other and then thought, ‘Wow, that would be tasty!” A quick perousal of the repitoire of in-house ingredients revealed that we had everything. Everything but the carrots. Oh well, what’s another trip to Byerly’s?

  • ¾ cups Canola oil
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cups white flour
  • ¼ whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ cups shredded carrots, grated
  • ¼ cup raisins, optional
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts, optional

Ingredients for the Frosting~

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

Method ~

Cream together the oil and the sugars. Add the eggs, salt cinnamon and baking soda. Add the flours until just mixed. Fold in the carrots. Spread in a greased and floured 9×9″ pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. While baking, whip the cream cheese and butter. Add milk, vanilla and powdered sugar. Frost the carrot cake when it is cooled.

An hour and a half later we were enjoying this magnifiscent delight. Thanks, as always to the Holden Kitchen.

Frango Mint Cake

Posted in Desserts by Paul Gauche on January 1, 2011

For the Cake ~

  • 1 box of Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 1 4-ounce box Instant Chocolate Instant
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup Vegetable Oil
  • ½ cup Water
  • 12-15 Frango Mints, cut into pieces

For the Frosting ~

  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese
  • 8 ounces butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (plus more to create a thick but spreadable frosting)

Method ~In a mixing  bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, vegetable oil, and water. Gently, but thoroughly fold chopped Frango Mint pieces into batter. Pour into a greased/oiled (Bak-klene, or Pam) Bundt Pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, or until a long toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool slightly, then invert the Bundt Pan onto a plate to release the cake. Let the cake cool thoroughly before frosting.

~~ With thanks to Patty McDonald

Apple Crisp (Haralson)

Posted in Desserts by Paul Gauche on October 17, 2010

Ingredients ~

  • 4 Cups Haralson apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Topping ~

  • ¼ Cup flour
  • 1 Cup Oatmeal
  • ½ Cup butter
  • ½ Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Method ~

Butter a 9×9 baking dish. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Sprinkle with the sugar, flour and the salt. Transfer to the buttered baking dish. For the topping, use another bowl and combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture until it is well distributed.  Pour evenly over the top of the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until the apples are tender, the topping is golden brown and your kitchen smells like Fall.

Wild Iris Cookies

Posted in Cookies,Desserts by Paul Gauche on August 22, 2010


The town of La Connor is nestled in the heart of the spectacular tulip fields of Skagit County in northwestern Washington State. Built on the banks of the Swinomish Channel, the town of La Conner is home to just under 1000 people, but welcomes over a million visitors each spring for the annual Tulip Festival. The main street–a mere three of four blocks long boasts numerous art galleries, restaurants and clothing shops.  In and among all of that is the Wild Iris Inn and Bed and Breakfast–the first stop among many in a week-long trip to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary.  While the Inn itself was beautiful and very comfortable, the two cookies that were delivered as we arrived completely stole the show, and when we left the next morning, two more cookies were packaged in cellophane and tied off with a ribbon. Such a deal! Anyway, a few days later and a couple e-mails to Lori Farnell, the gracious Innkeeper or the Wild Iris Inn, and the wildly ambrosial cookie recipe was mine! Thanks to Lori for the permission to share!


  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ tablespoons water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups coconut
  • 1 ½ cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups granola


In a small mixing bowl, blend the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla and water. Mix until well blended.

In another much larger bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda, then add the white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, coconut, cranberries, walnuts, rolled oats and the granola. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and blend well.

When well mixed, shape into golf ball sized balls and place on an ungreased parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes or until just turning brown around the edges. When you pull the cookies out of the oven they will look like they are not quite done—and they will be flat and spread out. Take a spatula and gently round them out. After a few minutes, remove them from the cookie sheet and place them on a cooling rack. At this point, give them another “rounding” with the spatula which will give them some height. Let them cool to set.

Winning Hearts and Minds Cake

Posted in Desserts by Paul Gauche on January 30, 2010

Winning-Hearts-and-Minds Chocolate Cake
from Molly Wizenberg‘s “A Homemade Life”

You can ‘Google’ “Winning Hearts and Minds Cake” and find over 93,000 results. That’s a lot of hearts and minds! And why not: this is an outrageously exquisite dessert! What you’ll also find is that nearly every one of those 93,000 results eventually brings you back to Molly Wizenberg’s recipe for Winning Hearts and Minds Cake on her food blog at and in her latest book, “A Homemade Life.”

So here’s your homework for the weekend: Visit her website and read her blog, buy her book, and then, by all means, make this cake, whip the cream and invite some friends over. Not too many–just a couple friends.


  • 7 ounces really good, dark chocolate, unsweetened or bittersweet
  • 1 ¾ sticks (that’s 14 Tablespoons) butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • Whipping Cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and butter that too. Chop the chocolate and melt it gently with the butter in a double boiler.

Add the sugar to the chocolate and butter mixture, stirring well, and then set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition, and then add the flour and stir well. The batter should be smooth, dark, and silky. Pour the batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is crackled, the edges are puffed and the center of the cake looks set. It should ‘jiggle’ only slightly. You can also insert a toothpick and when the toothpick comes out dry, it’s done.

Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Molly Wizenberg suggests that to remove the cake from the pan you can flip the cake onto a serving plate to finish cooling. The cake is very delicate so try this: Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the cake pan and place a large, flat plate or sheet plate (not the serving plate) on top of the foil, facing down. Hold cake pan and plate firmly together and quickly and carefully flip them. Remove cake pan to reveal cake which is now upside-down. Remove parchment paper. Gently place the serving plate on top of the cake. Wedge your index fingers between the plates to keep from squishing the cake, flip them so the cake is now right side up. Remove foil.

Allow to cool completely. Then serve at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.

Christmas Rum Cake

Posted in Desserts,Thanksgiving and Christmas Recipes by Paul Gauche on October 19, 2009

Photo Credit:

Ingredients ~

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 or 2 quarts of rum
  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup baking powder
  • 3 juiced lemons
  • 1 cup of nuts

Method ~

Before starting, sample rum to check quality. If it’s good, proceed.  If not, test again. You may have gotten it wrong. Then proceed. Select large mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc.

Check rum again. It must be just right. To be sure rum is of proper quality, pour one level cup of rum into a glass and drink it as fast as you can. Repeat. With an eclectic mixer, beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. 

Add 1 seaspoon of thusar and beat again. Meanhile, make sure rum is still alrighty. Well, alrighty then, try another cup. Open second quart if necessary. Add leggs, 2 c ups of fried druit and beat til high. If druit gets suck in beaters, pru loose with drewscriber. 

Sample rum again, checking for tonscisticity. 

Next, sift 3 cups salt and feffer (really doesn’t matter). Sample the wum again. 

Sift ½ pint lemon snoose. Fold in chopped butter and strained nuts. Add 1 bablespoon of brown sugar-or whatever color you can find. Wix mell. Grease oven. Turn cake pan to 350 greeds.

Pour mess into boven and ake. 

Check run again and bo to ged.


Raspberry Sauce

Posted in Desserts,Sauces by Paul Gauche on July 18, 2009

(Photo Credit:

Raspberry Sauce

  • 1/2 pkg. frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch

Whisk together the water, sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan, then add the raspberries. Stir the mixture on medium heat for several minutes until it thickens and gets to the consistency you prefer.

Let the sauce cool a bit, then serve over cheesecake, ice cream, pound cake, pie, your best friend, etc.

Rice Pudding

Posted in Desserts,Rice by Paul Gauche on July 16, 2009


(Photo Credit:

Ingredients ~

  • 4 cups ½ & ½ or whole milk
  • 1 cup rice
  • ¼  cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package Knox gelatin softened
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, coconut, mint, etc. for garnish

Method ~

 In a double boiler or a heavy saucepan, combine milk, rice, sugar and salt.  Cook until the rice is done, about 20 – 25 minutes, being careful not to let the milk scorch on the bottom of the saucepan.  Let cool slightly. Beat the 2 large eggs, then add a little of the warm rice to the eggs to neutralize the temperature.  Then quickly stir the eggs back into the rice along with 1 teaspoon vanilla. Bring to room temperature. Dissolve the gelatin in ½ cup water and add to the rice. Whip ½ pint whipping cream with ½ cup sugar and fold into the rice. Transfer to a serving bowl.  Cover and chill.  Garnish with nutmeg, raisins, coconut, etc.

*This recipe can also be made without eggs.

Nancy Lee’s Birthday Cranberry Cake

Posted in Desserts by Paul Gauche on July 16, 2009

Cranberry Cake

Ingredients for the Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups raw cranberries

Ingredients for the Butter Sauce

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk

Method for the Cake ~

Mix all of the ingredients together, then add 2 cups raw cranberries.  Pour into a 9×9 baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Method for the Butter Sauce ~

Melt ½ cup butter and add 1 cup sugar and ¾ cup evaporated milk. Cook for 5 minutes.  Serve hot by pouring over the cake.  Store reserve in refrigerator.

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