There are a few events held around this time, too - various races and contests. One such contest is the Baking Contest. This was the first year I was aware of it and so I decided to enter.
One of the requirements for entering is the recipe must contain a fall fruit or vegetable - persimmons, apples, and of course, pumpkin. Since I wasn't sure of what I was going to be up against since this was my first time entering, I decided to go with something I had made before - Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Cinnamon Crust. Last time I made these, I didn't use this recipe, but I can't remember what recipe I used last time, and this seemed similar enough.
The only variation I made in this recipe was instead of freshly grated nutmeg, I used the ground nutmeg we already had in our cupboard.
I wanted something fancy to present my cheesecakes in, so I bought some brown PaperChef Lotus Cups. However, they did not all fit in my muffin pan, so since they were sturdy enough I just put them all on a flat baking pan to cook.
I cooked my cheesecakes for fifteen minutes at first, just because I'm paranoid about my cheesecake cracking as they have in the past. Then I put them in for five minutes. Then five more minutes. At this point they'd been in the oven for twenty-five minutes so I went ahead and pulled them out. In hindsight I probably should have left them in for just a few minutes longer, but they turned out fine enough.
A minute after pulling them out I placed a roasted pecan half on top of each one. (To roast, I placed them on a pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray, and left them in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about four minutes. I roasted a few extra just in case any burnt, and I'm glad I did.)
The finished product.
They turned out rather pretty, didn't they? I thought the baking cups made them look kind of small, but that wasn't much of a big deal. I put them on a pretty green plate to be festive for the contest.
I didn't get to taste one of my own cheesecakes until after the contest was over because when I made them last night, they still had to be refrigerated to set, and we were too rushed this morning. But when I finally got to taste one, I was happy with them. The cheesecake part itself wasn't particularly sweet, but the crust compensated for it nicely. The crust was delicious. Next time I make these I think I'll add some sugar to the cheesecake though.
In the end, I didn't win the contest, but I wasn't at all upset because the woman who did win made an AMAZING cake. It looked like a basket with leaves and pumpkins all over it, and if my cheesecakes had been chosen over that, I would have wondered who rigged the contest. Next year, though, I'll know what kind of talent I'm up against, and I'll be more prepared. ;)
I love fall.