Thursday, November 15, 2007

Break out those fresh cranberries and make a cheesecake!

With several steps to the recipe, I actually had to get this Swirled Cranberry Cheesecake that we had for dessert tonight started yesterday. As with most cheesecakes, it is best when it has plenty of time to chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Swirled Cranberry CheesecakeStarting at the bottom of this cheesecake is a very dark-colored chocolate graham cracker crust. To intensify the chocolate flavor, a bit of Dutch-process cocoa powder is added when you grind up the crackers in a food processor. The crust is then pre-baked and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Next to be made is a brilliant cranberry sauce. The cranberries are cooked in a mixture of granulated sugar along with fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice. You want to cook this mixture until the cranberries pop and soften - once this happens, keep an eye on it as the sauce will thicken up fairly quick. The citrus-y flavor from the juices is then highlighted by the lemon and orange zest that is added when you puree the mixture smooth.

Swirled Cranberry CheesecakeNow comes the creamy part - the filling! To put more emphasis on and show off that sweet-tart topping, the cheesecake base is left fairly plain and is just simply sweetened with granulated sugar. Be sure that the filling ingredients are at room temperature - the cream cheese will beat up much more smooth and will continue to stay that way when the eggs and milk are added if they are not cold. Once the light velvety-smooth filling is added, the cranberry puree is dolloped on top and the two are swirled together.

Even though I did bake this in a water bath, I found that because the consistency of the filling and topping was different, I still ended up with a few cracks where the two were swirled together. That doesn't bother me much, but if you feel like you need to hide it, you could top the cheesecake with lightly sweetened whipped cream. You could also make another batch of the topping and not puree it, leaving you with a chunky topping to drizzle over. You could also just double the topping ingredients when you first make it and set half of it aside before pureeing.

Swirled Cranberry CheesecakeI had to slightly modify tonight's recipe we had for dinner, Red Curry with Vegetables, as neither of us care for green beans that much. It's not that we hate them, but I'd rather substitute another veggie if we are able to, so I used some broccoli instead tonight.

This dish is almost saucy enough to be classified as a stew - I think that might be pushing it though, as it was just liquid-y enough to yearn to be served with rice so you can eat every last savory drop. We used fragrant brown jasmine rice, but cook up whichever kind you have on hand if you make this. Extra-firm tofu stands in for the protein - to get the best texture and help it color as it cooked, I sliced the block into steaks and then weighed them down in between paper towels to press out as much water as I could before cutting them into cubes. To add an extra touch to the sweet potatoes, the chunky pieces are first caramelized in a bit of oil before adding coconut milk, vegetable broth and a couple teaspoons of red Thai curry paste to finish cooking them through. For just a touch of sweetness, a single tablespoon of brown sugar is tossed in when the browned tofu cubes and broccoli florets are added.

Red Curry with VegetablesCooked just long enough to allow the broccoli to become tender, yet remain crisp, the dish is finished with splash of lime juice and chopped fresh cilantro. I bought a new bottle of the red curry paste to use tonight, but I think we may have a dud or we have just become too accustomed to spicy flavors as it didn't seemed to pack all that much heat to us. I stated 2 teaspoons in the recipe, but you may want to start with one and add more, if needed, to pick up the heat a bit. I think I liked this dish more than Jeff - he thought it was good, but noted that the coconut milk was a bit too tangy for him.


  1. Oh wow! That cheesecake looks absolutely stunning. The red is so vibrant and the streaks so attractive.

  2. Just discovered your blog! It's great! You've got some drool-looking goodies here!

    I just wishe I didn't have to click to the recipes... lazy girl... but I like reading the recipe inside the post... :)

  3. The colour on the cheesecake is wonderful and I bet it tastes as good as it looks!

  4. Katie - Thank you!

    Maninas - When we began over 2 1/2 years ago, we had the recipes on the main post. However, it quickly became cluttered and the recipes were hard to find since we post daily.

    Nicisme - it did!