It’s almost Thanksgiving! If you’re organized, you’ve probably got your shopping either completed or at least a list made, and you’ve already planned what you’re making for the big day. If you’re not organized, you might be waiting for the perfect dessert recipe to fall into your lap. Let me help.
Since moving to Chicago, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some truly delightful people, a few of whom were gracious enough to invite me to “Friendsgiving.” I made this cheesecake to contribute (as well as a few other things — what can I say, I love to cook!) and overall, it was a success! I did use a recipe as a guide for the cheesecake portion and oh my gosh, it was absolutely the best-tasting, most pleasantly textured cheesecake I’ve ever had.
This time around, I tried the water bath. I found that it took longer to cook than other cheesecakes but there weren’t any cracks. And as there was nary an affordable roasting pan large enough to accommodate a 9-inch springform to be found in my local Target, I had to improvise using a sturdy foil roasting pan. It was only $3, and I’ll be able to use it again!
Makes 1 cheesecake
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp. melted butter
4 8-oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. sour cream
2/3 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole cranberries
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. orange juice
1 Tbsp. orange zest
White chocolate shavings, optional
It’s important to prepare the springform pan for baking before the crust and filling actually goes in. Tightly and evenly wrap heavy-duty aluminum foil around the pan. Crimp it around the top.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray the springform pan on the bottom and sides with cooking spray. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in a bowl, and, using your hands, press the mixture evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 325 F.
Beat softened cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy. Add in sugar until combined, then salt and vanilla and, one by one, the eggs. Stir in sour cream and heavy cream, taking care to avoid beating too much as an excess of air in the filling can lead to cracks. Pour the filling onto the prepared crust.
In a small saucepan, bring all ingredients to a simmer. When berries start to burst, keep cooking it down until it’s well combined. Pour the mixture into a food processor and puree until smooth. Using a spoon, drop blobs of topping into the top of the uncooked filling and swirl it around with a knife.
At this point, fill a large roasting pan with two quarts of boiling water. Put the prepared springform pan in the roasting pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the cheesecake is only slightly jiggly on top. It took me closer to two hours, probably because the water I put in the pan wasn’t boiling.
After the cheesecake has cooked, cool it in the pan on a rack and then cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. Serve with white chocolate shavings, if desired.