After letting my love of cranberries be known before Thanksgiving with Cranberry Liqueur, Cosmopolitan Cranberry Sauce and Turkey Sandwiches with Cranberry Sauce and Cream Cheese, I thought I would take a break, or rather, give my readers one. Me too I guess but still, after doing cocktails and more savory offerings I had a craving for one more thing. A dessert type thing.
I’ve been wanting to feature a recipe from Public Television Chef and Host Christy Rost. Christy’s expertise in celebrating home and family was featured nationwide in the fall of 2009 on PBS and CREATE TV stations with her one-hour Holiday production for American Public Television, A Home for Christy Rost: Thanksgiving, centered around her stunning 1898 mountain home, “Swan’s Nest” in Breckenridge, Colorado. This highly-anticipated show served as an introduction to Christy’s forthcoming national television series, At Home with Christy Rost, which is currently in pre-production. I met Christy when I attended the Snowmass Culinary and Arts Festival this past summer and I’m delighted we’ve finally connected and she can be my inspiration for this gorgeous dessert!
I admit…I took some liberties with this recipe (we’re still friends though, right Christy?), partially out of circumstance and partially from my own desire to effect a change; I think I’ve ended up with a cranberry cheesecake that is the essence of Christy but with my own spin in a couple of ways. I love this Cranberry Orange Layer Cake and typically make it for Christmas so decided to use that topping instead of swirling a cranberry simple syrup into the cheesecake base. I also substituted gingersnaps for the graham cracker crumbs because I had them on hand but use whichever one is most convenient for you. If you have graham crackers? Use them.
Cranberry Cheesecake with a Gingersnap and Cranberry Crust
1 hr 25 mins
A gorgeous holiday dessert with cranberries, gingersnaps and a luscious cream cheese filling.
For the Cranberry Topping
- 1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 8 crackers (I used gingersnaps; they were what I had on hand and they were great with the cranberry topping)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries
For the Filling
- 3 8-ounce packages softened cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Cranberry Topping
- Combine cranberries and sugar in processor. Using on/off turns, coarsely chop cranberries.
- Transfer mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Add 1 cup water and orange peel and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture is reduced to 2 1/3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Cover; chill overnight or up to 2 days (mixture will thicken).
For the Gingersnap Cookie Crust (Or use graham crackers in lieu of cookies)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Process cookies in a food processor or blender to yield 1 1/4 cups crumbs.
- In a medium bowl, stir together cookie or graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and chopped cranberries until crumbs are moist. Press mixture into bottom of a springform pan. Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
For the Cheesecake
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In large bowl of an electric mixer, blend cream cheese, sugar, and flour at medium speed until smooth.
- Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined, but do not overmix. Pour mixture into prepared springform pan.
- Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake 25 to 35 additional minutes until center of cheesecake is set, but still soft.
- Turn off oven, open oven door, and cool cheesecake in oven about 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven, cool 1 hour on a wire rack, and run a sharp knife around edge of cheesecake. Release outer band of springform pan and remove.
- Transfer cheesecake to a serving plate. Cover loosely and refrigerate several hours or overnight. With a metal spatula, gently loosen and transfer chilled cheesecake from bottom of springform pan directly onto serving plate, if desired.
- Dollop cooled cranberry topping over top of cake and smooth to edges. Garnish with whole fresh or candied cranberries.
For Christmas 2011, Chef Rost designed a tablescape that transports everyone to the sparkling magic of a beautiful snowfall that, like the actual event in nature, manages to slow everyone down to delight in the wonderful, glowing combination of joy, peace and beauty. Similar to the tradition of stockings filled during the night by Santa, the Christmas Morning table can be set before the family awakens to surprise everyone with even more Christmas fun. Assembling the decorative elements in advance makes it possible to decorate the table in minutes.
Gorgeous isn’t it?