Pineapple Cheesecake with Pecan Praline
Mom saved many recipe clippings from magazines, newspapers, and food boxes. A favorite appeared in the “Boston Daily Record” newspaper on Friday, October 19, 1956. Kraft® featured a Pineapple Cream Cheese Pie. Traditional pastry crust had a layer of prepared crushed pineapple, PHALALELPHIA CREAM CHEESE topping and was finished with chopped walnuts. Their tag line still brings a smile, “Stun your guy with this “Philly Pie” ….”You’ll simply bowl over the Man in your life with this special but easy pie that owes its greatness to (of all things!) a cream cheese.”
Of course, mom made it often. She knew it was one of my favorites.
Mom’s original clipping has a note she wrote to herself to “try using more cream cheese”. Here’s a cheesecake version of this wonderful desert made in a 9-inch springform pan. Crust is replaced with a complimentary ginger snap cookie crust and thicker layers of crushed pineapple and cheesecake filling. Cheesecake is made well ahead, frigerated, and finished with a generous topping of old fashion pecan praline. Extra praline is wonderful with cocktails.
- 2 cups of ginger snaps crumbs
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 20 oz. canned crushed pineapple with natural juices only
- 1/3rd cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup whole milk
- Boiling water
- 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Step 1. Crush ginger snaps, creating 2 cups of crumbs. Blend with butter and press onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch diameter spring form pan. Bake at 325º until just set, about 10 minutes. Cool.
Step 2. Drain pineapple juice into a small bowl. Add about a tablespoon of water and whisk with cornstarch.
Step 3. In a pot, stir crushed pineapple with sugar. Fold in cornstarch mixture. Stir over medium heat until clear and thickened. When cooled, spread mixture over cookie crust.
Step 4. For filling, in a food processer or mixer, beat cream cheese with sugar and salt until creamy. Add eggs one at a time followed by milk and vanilla. When well combined, slowly ladle filling over pineapple being careful to not disturb pineapple.
Step 5. Preheat oven to 400º degrees. Seal the outside of the springform pan by wrapping the bottom and sides with 2 sheets of wide aluminum foil. Put it into a roasting pan. Place in the oven. Pour boiling water in the roasting pan to about an inch and a half up the outside of the wrapped spring form pan. After 10 minutes, lower heat to 325º. Bake until the edges puff and the center lightly set, about 60 minutes. Once cooled, refrigerate in the springform at least five hours or overnight.
Step 6. For praline, set oven at 325º. Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar until melted. When the mixture begins to boil, let it bubble without stirring for about a minute. Coat pecans in the pot and place on the sheet covered with foil. The mixture will boil again in about 6 minutes, throughout within 8 minutes. Cool.
Step 7. Slide a thin knife between the cake and side of the pan to release the cheesecake; remove springform pan. Use a baker’s spatula do the same with the bottom. Slide the cheesecake onto a serving platter. Top with praline. Cut and serve.
About the Author
Peter, a member of Harbor Hills Country Club, grew up in Boston’s Italian North End. His website, www.LuciaTramonte.com, is dedicated to his Mom. Lucia Tramonte was her maiden name.
Boston once was a thriving fishing port accommodating fleets of fishing boats. Boats arrived daily to unload and process their catches for distribution. Locals could purchase their seafoods direct. Salespeople always recognized mom and me. They always were generous with prices and portions. It was worth the long walk. Being a Catholic community, in those days, eating meat was forbidden on Fridays. Every Friday, a seafood vendor setup his pushcart business on Salem and Prince streets. Shrimp, squid, and cod were covered with chipped ice and sold. Shrimp was a delicacy and were pricey. Mom only bought shrimp on special occasions. She usually served them over linguini with a red sauce or with my very favorite, shrimp scampi.
Whether served as a stand-alone appetizer, a main course served over risotto or polenta, tossed with linguini (below), baked in individual phyllo triangles, scampi flatbread, or baked in puff pastry, Shrimp Scampi is incredibly versatile. This Scampi recipe also is remarkably quick and easy to make, and all applications equally delicious.
Scampi sauce is prepared in a single pot. When ready, raw shrimp is coated in sauce, and quick broiled.
This is a perfectly proportioned recipe for scampi sauce; garlic, scallions, lemon, salted butter, and olive oil, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. It balances perfectly with flavorful wild caught shrimp.
Scampi appetizer can be served buffet style or individually plated.
Sauce ingredients are prepared in only one pot. Shrimp is coated in the sauce pot and quick broiled on both sides on a cookie sheet.
- 1 1/4-pounds large wild-caught shrimp
- 1 quarter pound of salted butter, one stick
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- Few grinds each of salt and pepper
- Crostini, optional
- Chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, lemon wedges
- Remove shrimp shells, with or without tail section left on (I prefer off) and devein. Rinse in cold water and pat dry. Set them aside.
- In a pot, large enough to comfortably hold all shrimp and sauce, melt the butter over low heat. Add olive oil, lemon juice, scallions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Pre-heat the broiler. Coat shrimp in sauce. Place them in rows on a rimmed cookie sheet large enough to accommodate a single layer. Line shrimp in rows. Spoon the scampi sauce over shrimp.
- Broil them close to the heat for about three minutes or until the tops are partly pink but not cooked through. Flip them over and broil briefly until just cooked through. Try not to overcook them.
- Arrange Scampi and sauce on a serving platter or directly on individual plates, crostini optional. Serve.
Pasta and Shrimp Scampi
- Shrimp Scampi (above)
- ½ pound linguini
- Optional, garnish with chopped parsley
- Prepare Scampi sauce as shown above.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta. While cooking, preheat broiler. Coat shrimp and layer them on the cookie sheet with remaining sauce as discussed above.
- Once linguini is cooked al dente, strain and return pasta to the empty pot.
- Coat and broil shrimp per above.
- Carefully pour entire contents of the scampi tray, shrimp, juices, and bits, in the pasta pot with linguini. Toss and serve. Garnish.
- Here are some other options. Full recipes are on my website
About the Author
Peter grew up in Boston’s Italian North End. His website, www.LuciaTramonte.com, is dedicated to his Mom. Lucia Tramonte was her maiden name.
In a world that is characterized by increasingly less service and human interaction, the personal touch, the human connection, the art of the conversation, the growing of deep personal relationships, the bonds that tie us together have lost their way. Machines answer customer service calls and then are outsourced to distant lands. Text messaging has replaced conversation. Waiting in line with a pager has replaced reservations. Youtube has become our “expert” for all things. Large commissary kitchens prepare food that is reheated at our local restaurant chains where quality decisions are made by an accounting department in a far away land. Your favorite local grocery store now has self checkout lanes.
At Harbor Hills, our friendly concierge staff answer member’s calls 7 days a week. Members walk into our pro shops and are greeted by name and with a smile. Our staff knows their game, knows who they pair with, knows their families, and have personal relationships that matter and our important to them with our members. Our PGA and USPTA Professionals provide expertise to suit your specific game, enhancing your performance, and enjoyment. What is the value of your driver if it doesn’t fit your swing? What is the value of your tee time when it is made at a time that is not convenient for you and without the camaraderie of playing with fellow members?
Members walking into our Signature Grille or other dining events are greeted by staff members who know their name, know their children’s names, know their dietary restrictions, often pour their favorite drinks before they are even ordered and are served with a friendly and familiar smile. At our recent Tableside Dining event, members were delighted by an incredible meal with the personal attention and detail that can only be provided as an amenity to your country club membership.
Yes, we have incredible facilities. Yes, they are delivered at an extraordinary value. Most importantly Harbor Hills Country Club is a place where members experience camaraderie, fun, joy, fellowship and the contentment nurtured through the relationships they share with their fellow members and club staff. Recently I witnessed 2 long time members who came to have lunch by themselves and immediately invited each other to have lunch together. The value of their relationship cannot be measured by dollars and cents. Our General Manager orders wine by the case for several members and keeps them in our cellar. Harbor Hills Country Club provides countless personalized services like this to our members on a daily basis.
So the next time your call is transferred to an offshore call center, you wait in line to eat mediocre reheated food, endlessly search the internet to improve your game and buy equipment, aimlessly walk around a big box store to end up checking yourself out, jump through hoops to book an unwanted tee time, hop in your golf cart and come up to the club where the value of your club membership is not measured in dollars and cents but by the lifelong relationships that matter the most in life.
The great grill debate happens throughout the country each summer. Are you a charcoal griller or do you prefer a gas grill? Here’s a breakdown of key differences between gas and charcoal.