With the holiday season upon us, many people head into the kitchen to bake traditional pies and desserts. This year, I decided to mix it up and try something new. Everyone loves cheesecake, regardless of what flavor or what time of year it is served. What better way to infuse a cheesecake with the essence of the season than by using cranberries? Everyone seems to have cranberries in their house between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we may grow weary of traditional cranberry sauce. Surprise your guests this season with a special twist on a classic flavor and dessert.
Yield: 1 Cheesecake
Number of Servings: 8
Graham crackers (crushed) 12 crackers
Unsalted butter (melted) 2 oz.
Cream cheese (room temperature) 1 lb. 11 oz.
Sugar 1 cup
Cake flour (can use cornstarch) 3 Tbsp.
Vanilla Extract 1 1/2 tsp.
Lemon Zest 3/4 tsp.
Heavy Cream 7 fl. oz.
Cranberry Earl Grey Mixture:
Fresh Cranberries 2 cups
Water 3/4 cups
Sugar 3/4 cups
Maple Syrup 1/4 cups
Vanilla 1 tsp.
Earl Grey Tea 2 Tbsp.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the crust is dry to the touch. Set aside.
- Blend the cream cheese and sugar on low speed in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until no lumps remain. Scrape down the bowl often.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting for each egg to be fully incorporated before adding more. Scrape down the bowl and paddle after each addition.
- Add the flour and mix until combined. Add the remaining batter ingredients, and mix to blend.
- To make the earl grey and cranberry mixture, combine the cranberries, water, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and tea in a saucepan. Over medium high heat, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer it for 25 minutes. Crush the cranberries, and strain.
- Let the cranberry mixture cool. Set aside 1/4 cups of the cranberry mixture to use as a garnish. Mix 2 cups of the cheesecake batter with the cranberry mixture.
- Pour batter into the spring form pan on top of the crust. Marble in the cranberry cheesecake mixture with the rest of the batter. Wrap the bottom and the sides of the pan in several layers of aluminum foil and place it in a hotel pan.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the hotel pan with the cheesecake in the oven. Pour enough warm water into the hotel pan to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake until the batter is set and no longer trembles, approximately 75-90 minutes.
- Cool the cake on a wire rack in the pan, then refrigerate overnight. Remove the cake from the pan, portion the cheesecake.
- Top with the reserved cranberry mixture and serve. (You may also garnish with candied cranberries and whipped cream).
Christian Perbil is a student of the Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.
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