Friday, January 8, 2016

National English Toffee Day and Mixed Fruit Cheesecake Pie Recipe

National English Toffee Day

I love toffee so was happy to discover that today is National English Toffee Day.  This is one of the few candies that always show up at our house for Christmas.  My mom would make this in a cast iron skilled when we were young.  As adults, my sister has adopted this as her signature candy to give for the holidays, so I always look forward to eating some in December.  The above toffee is from this year's batch.

I have purposely not attempted to make this candy myself because I want it to remain a special holiday treat.  The ingredients are simple - sugar, butter, nuts, semi-sweet chocolate - and once you get over your fear of hot candy, it's a pretty quick recipe.  Based on what I remember from childhood and followup conversations about toffee, it is essential to use a well-seasons cast iron skillet, real butter, quality chopped, toasted nuts and semi-sweet chocolate.

This is one candy that I will not purchase because I don't want to be disappointed.  I know what really good toffee tastes like, so I'd rather wait for the holidays than eat a sub-par toffee.

With that said, I do enjoy a Heath candy bar every once in a while . . .

Mixed Fruit Cheesecake Pie Recipe

I'm on a mission to use up the remaining random ingredients from the holidays, so I made this Mixed Berry Cheesecake Pie.  After cooling in the refrigerator, I enjoyed a delicious slice this afternoon with a cup of coffee.

Here's how I made it --

Mixed Fruit Cheesecake Pie

I had a ready-made Keebler pie crust in my pantry, so that's what I used.  I would typically made a graham cracker crust with crushed graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter.  

Cheesecake Filling:
2 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 t lemon juice
2 eggs

Cream the cream cheese and granulated sugar.  Once combined, add the vanilla and lemon juice and mix.  Finally, add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined and fluffy.

(I used an immersion blender for this because I didn't want to pull out my KitchenAid for a small job.  It worked really well.)

Add the filling to the pie crust and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until the center is firm, not jiggling.  I covered up my pie with aluminum foil for the last 5 minutes of baking time so that the crust and top didn't get too browned.

After cooking, let cool on the counter before topping with the mixed fruit topping and refrigerating.

Mixed Fruit Topping: (prepare while cheesecake is baking)
12 oz bag fresh cranberries, washed and sorted
1 granny smith apple, chopped
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1/3 C granulated sugar -- adjust to your sweet level
1/2 C water
1/2 t salt
1/2 pint blackberries (optional)

Add all ingredients except the blackberries to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat.  When mixture starts bubbling, reduce heat to low.  Cook until the cranberries make a sauce and the apples are softened, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the blackberries.

Let cool.  Spread mixture over the cheesecake after both components have cooled to room temperature, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Note:  You will have leftover topping, which is a good thing!  It can be eaten alone like traditional cranberry sauce, served over ice cream, used as a condiment on a turkey sandwich, spread on toast for breakfast, etc.

Makes 8 servings.


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