Holiday Feast Friday: Pumpkins are not just for halloween

In case you were wondering and following my “Wine Wednesday” you saw this week, I’ve included (which I never do) two amazing recipes.  With such great response to my weekly column, I’ve decided to have a special ‘right before the holiday post’ for the upcoming holiday season. So in the spirit of one of my favorite holidays HALLOWEEN…I wanted to give you some great suggestions for your Halloween weekend parties.

I made these a few weeks ago (you know…quality control) and these are quick, easy and will be a crowd pleaser. Contrary to popular belief, pumpkins are actually a fruit, not a vegetable – which makes this sweet, cute, bite-size, single-serve treat, perfect for all-year. In addition, you know that Thanksgiving is just under a month away so these would be great to bring to the future ‘mother-in-law’ to add to the dessert table. The best part – no clean-up.

Of course no series would be complete without these beautiful refreshment suggestions.  I do know that not everyone likes an alcoholic beverage so Coffee-mate is one of my favorites for ‘spicing up my after-dinner coffee or tea. Either way, these are perfect to pair with this pumpkin treat.  Ahhh, I love fall.

Lustau East India Solera Sherry ($22) – This delicious Sherry will echo the spice used in the Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe. And no wine has as much sweet spice character as an aged Sherry.

Domaine Fontanel Rivesaltes Ambré ($24).  A unique delicious dessert wine.  Lends some Sherry-like nuttiness to its sweetness and tangy acidity.

A Tawny Port ($10+), which is far less fruity than a ruby-type Port, has a nice complexity of flavor, including some faded dried fruits and even a bit of coffee character.

Quady Elysium Black Muscat 2005 ($15) – goes well with Pumpkin-flavored recipes.

Individual Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecakes:

12 Cupcake liners

Nonstick cooking spray

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup Granulated sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. All-purpose flour

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

2 large Eggs

1/2 cup Pure Pumpkin

2 Tbsp. Coffee-mate seasonal Pumpkin Spice flavor

2 tsp. Ground cinnamon

PREHEAT oven to 300° F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with liners; coat liners with nonstick cooking spray.
BEAT cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Transfer 1/2 cup batter to a medium bowl.

ADD pumpkin and Coffee-mate; stir until blended.
DIVIDE white cream cheese batter evenly among prepared cups; top evenly with pumpkin batter. Swirl batters with butter knife.
BAKE for 16 to 18 minutes or until just set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.



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