Edible Monterey Bay

Pumpkin-Maple Cheesecake with Walnut Crust

The thing that’s always bothered me about pumpkin pie is the absence of a true pumpkin flavor. The spices that characterize the pie—nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger—are so overpowering that one can scarcely taste the pumpkin at all. This pumpkin cheesecake foregoes any spices at all, allowing the true heroes of the dessert— the pumpkin, maple and walnuts—to stand on their own. An extra thick walnut and graham cracker crust and a maple walnut topping ensure that each piece of cheesecake delivers a distinct walnut crunch.


2 ounces Gray Whale Gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce ginger liqueur
1 teaspoon turmeric

Shake with ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with orange slices. Makes 1 cocktail.

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Get your hands on some green walnuts and make some nocino. In Italy there is a special day for gathering green walnuts called the Feast Day of San Giovanni. Italians like this liqueur in their coffee, where it is called caffè corretto or corrected coffee. It is also poured over gelato or used in place of vanilla extract in making biscotti or simply as an after dinner digestif. The flavor is nutty, slightly bitter, yet sweet, with the taste of vanilla and oak.