Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Recipe Review: Cheesecake was a hit with the boyfriend's family at Christmas! 

Obviously I couldn't show up empty handed on Christmas when meeting Kevin's family for the first time. There was a cranberry swirl cheesecake on the holiday edition of Cooking light that looked festive so I thought that would work well, especially since I'd have to make it ahead and it would need to travel an hour and a half in the car.

I used the cheesecake recipe from Joy of Baking and the swirl recipe from Cooking Light (while cooking light is one of my favorite recipe sources I strongly believe that certain things- like cheesecake- shouldn't be 'lightened')

boo bad lighting :-(
Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake
Cranberry Filling
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup chambord
3 tablespoons water

Graham Cracker Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling
24 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 cup white sugar
1 T all purpose flour
4 large eggs, room temp
1 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spray a 9 inch round springform pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a pan full of water on the bottom rack to keep oven air moist.

For Crust: Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of a 9inch springform pan. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

For Cranberries: Place cranberries, sugar, chambord and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook 8 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture is syrupy. (note: the smallest bottle of chambord is 50ml, this is just a hair short of a 1/4c, costs about 5 bucks and is what I used) I over cooked this and made it more like a jelly than a syrup, so don't make my mistake! It should be a thinner syrup or it won't swirl well. Cook the mixture for 20 minutes and blend in a food processor until smooth.

For Filling: In a mixing bowl place the cream cheese, sugar, an flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about two minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cream and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the cheesecake filling. Place spoonfuls of the cranberry syrup on the top and gently swirl with a knife. (When I did this the cranberry refused to swirl because it was too thick and instead stubbornly clumped up. I poured the whole thing back into the mixer and mixed it together so mine was more of a cranberry cheesecake than a cranberry swirl cheesecake.)

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees and continue to bake for another 70 minutes (mine was more like 80 minutes) until firm and only the very center wobbles when you gently shake the pan. Remove from oven and carefully run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake (this prevents it from cracking as it cools) Let cool completely before refrigerating overnight. (Cheesecake tastes best the next day)

And the holiday baking season is through! I over indulged big time with sweets this season so I'm looking forward to lighter, simpler dishes in the new year.

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