Fortunately, everyone in our family LOVES cheesecake–especially white chocolate cheesecake.
Because I love creating endless variations, and can’t abide all those calories hanging out in the fridge taunting me.
I create a NEW cheesecake whenever the mood strikes. So far, there’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake (not yet posted), Blueberry, Lime & Rose Petal Cheesecake, Pumpkin Spice & White Chocolate Cheesecake, and Luscious White Chocolate & Raspberry Rose Petal Cheesecake.
And this makes the fifth. I hope everyone agrees that it’s perfect for the holiday dessert table.
I’m sticking with white chocolate for this round, because the holiday season is just around the corner and white chocolate is one of the most festive, luscious ingredients in the kitchen.
Plus, white chocolate and cranberries have an affinity for one another. In addition, something magical happens when cranberries and raisins comingle and make merry. It’s as if a third flavor is born, which guests can’t quite identify but rave over nonetheless.
Marbled Spiced Cranberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake
Cranberries, currants, warm spices, and white chocolate are an unexpected and completely harmonious flavor pairing. Add cream cheese, and well, I think you know where this is going. Make this dreamy cheesecake the day before you need it to ensure it sets up fully in the fridge.
Gingersnap Cookie Crumb Crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup fine, dry, gingersnap cookie crumbs (15-18 store-bought gingersnaps)
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
1½ cups (5 ounces) whole fresh cranberries
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened, 100% pure, cranberry juice
½ cup currants or raisins
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped or disks
three 8-ounce packages best-quality cream cheese
½ cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces premium white chocolate in a thick bar (Whole Foods carries Callebaut)
- To make the Gingersnap Cookie Crumb Crust, in a small saute pan, melt the butter and add the cookie crumbs, and stir to coat the crumbs with butter. Saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring slowly, until the mixture begins to toast and become fragrant. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the cookie crumbs on the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Reserve. (Makes about ¾ cup.)
- To make the Spiced Cranberry Sauce, combine cranberries, sugar, cranberry juice currants, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, and ginger in a small saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until berries are mostly popped and mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the cranberry sauce into a blender and blend until smooth. If the tiny seeds bother you, force the sauce through a very fine sieve into a clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature. (Makes about 1 cup.)
- To melt the white chocolate, utilizing a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water, or in a small bowl in the microwave, carefully melt the white chocolate, stirring periodically with a clean, dry utensil to evenly distribute the heat. Reserve momentarily.
Note: White chocolate cannot tolerate the same degree of heat that dark chocolate can. If it is overheated, it will turn granular.
- To prepare the Cheesecake Batter, using a processor fitted with the steel knife, process the cream cheese with the sugar until completely smooth. Add the eggs and incorporate thoroughly. Divide the batter evenly between two medium mixing bowls. You will have about 2 cups of batter in each bowl.
- To half of the batter, add 1 cup cooled Spiced Cranberry Sauce and incorporate.
- To the other half of the batter, add the melted white chocolate and incorporate.
- To swirl the layers, spoon large dollops of each batter, side by side, into the pan and then using a spatula on its edge, swirl it through the batter in a couple of large figure 8 sweeps. Don’t overdo it.
- To bake, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°. Bake the cheesecake for about 35 minutes. It will not appear set at this point. There should be no cracking and only the barest rising at the outer edges. The edges will look matte, while the center will still look somewhat shiny. Remove from the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes.
- To prepare the topping, while the cheesecake is baking, whisk the sour cream with the sugar and vanilla, and let sit until the sugar is completely dissolved. Reserve.
- After the baked cheesecake has set up for at least 5 minutes, slowly pour the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake. Level with a flexible spatula.
- Return cheesecake to the oven for 10 minutes, remove, and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Do not over bake or the cheesecake will be grainy. When totally cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
- To garnish, just before serving, grate the remaining white chocolate and sprinkle evenly over the top. (An easy way to obtain large chocolate curls is to warm the top of the chocolate bar slightly with just the heat of your hand and then draw a cheese knife across the top. Repeat the warming for each pass with the cheese knife.)
- To serve, with a long thin knife, cut into small wedges, wiping the blade clean on a paper towel between slices.
Copyright 2011 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.