In my opinion, the hardest part of making this cheesecake is waiting three or more hours for it to chill properly in the refrigerator before serving. It’s worth the wait, though, and believe me, I have been waiting quite a while for this cheesecake. Several weeks, in fact.
I’ve been seeing bags of Michigan-grown cranberries in grocery stores for over a month now, but since cranberries aren’t really the type of fruit you snack on by themselves, I wanted to have a specific recipe in mind before buying some of the tantalizingly bright berries. When I saw that National Cake Day was looming on the horizon, I jumped at the chance to create a cranberry-based confection. And here you have it: a cheesecake that combines the traditional cranberry-orange flavor pairing with creamy white chocolate, nutmeg, and spicy gingersnap cookies.
I’ll be converting this recipe into cheesecake bars for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner later this week. I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving, filled with family, friends, and fantastic food!
- 12 ounces gingersnap cookies
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 packages (225g each) low-fat cream cheese
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
- 6 ounces white chocolate, melted
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let cream cheese warm up to room temperature.
- In a food processor, pulse gingersnap cookies until finely and evenly ground. Add melted butter and pulse until mixed.
- Line bottom of 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper. Coat paper and sides of pan with butter or baking spray. If you have any doubts about the seal on your spring-form pan, you may want to cover the bottom with a layer of aluminum foil.
- Press mixture into pan – do the sides first, then the bottom. You will want the crust to be about 2 inches tall around the sides.
- Bake crust for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside.
- While crust is baking, place all four ingredients for cranberry sauce in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-8 minutes, or until cranberries burst and liquid is syrupy. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Once crust is done baking, lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and mix until combined thoroughly, about 1 minute. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. Add melted white chocolate, sour cream, nutmeg, and orange zest, and mix until combined.
- In a food processor or blender, puree cranberry sauce until smooth. If it seems too thick to you, you may want to thin it with additional orange juice or water.
- Pour about half of cheesecake mixture over cooled crust. Spoon dollops of cranberry sauce on top. Add remaining cheesecake mixture, and spoon on additional dollops of cranberry sauce. Use a butter knife to swirl. Optional: sprinkle whole cranberries on top for garnish (you may want to press these down slightly).
- Bake 35-40 minutes, until edges are firm but the middle jiggles slightly when you shake the pan. Set pan on wire rack and let cool for about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours before cutting (please note that cooling time is NOT included in the total time for this recipe!).
- It’s easier to create more attractive swirls if the cranberry puree is about the consistency of slightly runny applesauce, rather than the consistency of a jam or jelly.