Monday, November 07, 2016
Of course, I once felt the same way about yogurt, and now I eat a ton of it.
Earlier in the year, at the Fancy Food Show, I tasted a new brand of cottage cheese. I'll try anything once, even camel milk and tortilla chips made with cricket flour. Expecting the same chalky curds in mucus-y sauce that I had eaten in my youth, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the curds were tender and the sauce binding them together was more like sweet cream. It was tasty. I liked it.
So when I received an e-mail from Muuna Cottage Cheese, asking if I'd be willing to try their products and write about them, I said, "sure." As it turned out, I had seen Muuna at the local grocery store just that week and had purchased the mango flavor. It was tasty. I liked it.
Muuna sent us a great box of cottage cheese goodness - 5.3-ounce cups of all five flavors (blueberry, strawberry, peach, mango, and pineapple) plus a cup of the lowfat plain. I tucked into the flavored stuff immediately, and found that while pineapple and mango were pretty good, blueberry and strawberry were even better. However, I wasn't sure I was ready to eat the plain lowfat cottage cheese on its own. So I made cheesecake with it. Pumpkin cheesecake. Because fall. Oh, and since I only had 5 ounces of cottage cheese to work with, I made minis.
There was still a bit of trepidation involved. I am a fan of smooth cheesecakes. I don't like the oddly dry texture of ricotta cheesecake, and I have never liked the old Baltimore favorite smearcase, which was commonly made with cottage cheese. So I popped the Muuna into the mini prep and gave it a whirl.
They were incredible. Seriously. I like smooth-textured cheesecakes that aren't overly-cheesy. These little babies were perfect, IMHO. Very pumpkin-y, very smooth, not too dense or cheesy. One 4-inch cheesecake was the perfect size to split with Mr Minx.
I was so pleased with the results and the texture of the blended cottage cheese, I think I might try a version without using any cream cheese at all. Maybe even a smearcase-style cake. Maybe.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes for Two
I call for a mini prep to whiz the cottage cheese because it seems silly to dirty a big food processor with this ridiculously small amount of batter. If that's all you have, however, then use it. A blender would work, too. I find the Cuisinart Mini-Prep's 3-cup size is just perfect for small jobs like hummus and pesto, and it's small enough to leave on the counter at all times. Amazon has it for around $35, and I have more than gotten my money's worth.
For the crust:
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used crushed Teddy Grahams)
2 heaped tablespoons toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), ground in a mini prep or with a mortar and pestle if you're old fashioned
Pinch brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, melted
For the filling:
1 (5.3 ounce) container of Muuna lowfat plain cottage cheese
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the crust ingredients in a zip-top sandwich bag. Close the bag and squish the ingredients around until everything is coated with the butter. Dump the bag into two 4-inch springform pans and pat into an even layer, coming a little up the sides. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the filling: Put the cottage cheese in the bowl of a mini-prep food processor and pulse until the cheese has been pureed. Add the pumpkin, sugar, spices, salt, and vanilla and blend well. Scrape mixture into a bowl and stir in the softened cream cheese, then beat in the egg until everything is well combined.
Pour filling into prepared pans and bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes, or until puffed and set. The middle might jiggle a wee bit but should not be liquidy. If it is, bake it for an additional 5 minutes. Cool cakes on a rack. When cool, loosen the edges with a knife before releasing the sides of the pan. Wrap and foil and refrigerate until cold.
Serve topped with whipped cream.
* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $ at no cost to you! Please buy!
Posted on Minxeats.com.