The last decadent recipe of 2020. This is a new one I found on Food Network’s website when I was looking for a special, festive and new dessert to serve for Christmas Eve. This one is definitely worthy of a special event and was well received by everyone. It’s important to note that it’s not something you can throw together at the last minute. This recipe is one that needs to be prepared early enough to allow the cheesecake ample time to cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator. But, it’s worth the wait!
For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I actually used the gluten free crumbs to make this GF friendly)
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
For the filling:
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiardelli white chocolate chips for convenience)
4, 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened and room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
For the topping:
1, 1 pound bag fresh cranberries (if you use frozen, thaw and drain them)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoons water (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set racks in the lower third and middle of oven.
Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with hands or a fork until combined. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Put in the freezer until ready to fill and bake.
To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar together in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 7 minutes). Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the cornstarch and beat an additional 2 minutes. Beat in the melted white chocolate, vanilla and salt until combined.
Fill a roasting pan about halfway with water and set on the lower oven rack. Pour the filling into your prepared graham cracker crust and smooth the top. Set on the middle oven rack and bake until the edge is set but the center still jiggles slightly, 1 hour and 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Then cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
To make the topping, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and juice and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring the mixture, and then reduce the heat to a medium low and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. The cranberries will begin to “pop.” If you want the sauce to be thicker, you can add some cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the liquid. Transfer the topping to a bowl and refrigerate until completely cool.
To serve, run a hot knife around the edge of the cheesecake, then remove from the springform ring. Top with the cranberry mixture and white chocolate shavings if desired.