Posts Tagged 'Cranberries'

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Does anyone else still have cranberries left over from Thanksgiving?  Since they keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and also freeze beautifully, I’ve been steadily working my way through the half-full jumbo bag my mom sent home with us last month.  Today’s recipe – Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake from the December 2010 issue of Cooking Light – was a special request from my darling husband.  The dessert looked so good on the cover of the magazine that we just had to try it.

Since the process was a bit long, I’ll spare you the play-by-play today.  I did have several issues and modifications, though.

  • When I bake cheesecakes in a water bath, I always use the 18-inch-wide heavy-duty Reynolds foil because it allows me to wrap the entire 9-inch springform pan with one piece.  When I would overlap two pieces of the 12-inch foil in the past, I would consistently get leakage and a soggy crust.  I bring the foil all the way up the sides and then roll any excess at the top into a “lip” so the foil doesn’t extend down into the pan.  Works like a charm!
  • The only chocolate graham crackers my grocery store had were chocolate Teddy Grahams, so that’s what I bought.  Once they’re ground up, they’re pretty much all the same, right?
  • There was no way I was going to put oil in my cheesecake crust, so I substituted 3 tablespoons of melted butter for the 3 tablespoons of canola oil.
  • I didn’t have any Chambord and I didn’t want to buy a whole bottle for the recipe, so I bought two mini bottles at the liquor store for $5.  (I have half of one bottle left.)
  • I don’t know if it was the saucepan I used (a hard anodized Calphalon) or the fact that water evaporates more quickly at high altitude, but my cranberry topping was initially more like candied cranberries than sauce (and that was even after I shaved a minute off of the cooking time).  I ended up adding 5 tablespoons of water to the sauce in the food processor step to thin it out.
  • I don’t ever use fat-free cream cheese (it’s like plastic!), so I used all reduced-fat cream cheese instead of using both types.
  • I used Fage 0% for the Greek yogurt.
  • My whole eggs were room temperature; my egg whites were pretty cold. (Eggs separate best when they’re fresh from the refrigerator.)
  • Many of the recipe reviewers complained that a 9-inch springform pan won’t fit inside a 9 x 13-inch metal pan for the water bath, and it’s true.  Luckily, I have a large lasagna pan (11 x 16) that worked well.
  • I boiled my water in a tea kettle before pouring it around the foil-wrapped cheesecake.
  • The recipe indicated that the cheesecake should barely move in the center after 50 minutes of baking time at 325°F.  Several reviewers said they had to add baking time, whether it was 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or more.  I ended up giving my cheesecake 65 minutes at 325°F before turning off the oven and giving it 30 minutes of in-oven cooling time.

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

This recipe isn’t going to knock my all-time favorite cheesecake (Margarita Cheesecake!) off its throne, but it was pretty fantastic (and far more seasonally appropriate).  This recipe produced a light, fluffy, creamy texture and I loved the play between the slightly tart cranberry topping and the sweetness of the cheesecake.  One of the recipe reviewers on the Cooking Light site said that she didn’t like the chocolate crust because it created “too many flavors” in the final result; I think chocolate and cranberry go together beautifully, though, so I loved it. It was a bit challenging to get the crust out when I cut the first piece (the first piece is always the hardest!), but subsequent pieces came out easily.

I’ve made quite a few cheesecakes and have a pretty sensitive palate, so I could tell this was a lower-fat cheesecake.  I don’t think your average dinner guest would have an inkling, though.  Since this cheesecake is gorgeous, delicious, and able to be made ahead, I’m definitely putting it in my holiday recipe arsenal.

Recipe link: Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

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Leftover Turkey?

Who doesn’t love leftover turkey? (And stuffing, and potatoes, and cranberries…) Whether you have a lot left over or a little, here are a few day-after-Thanksgiving recipe ideas.

Quesadillas with Chutney and Brie – These quesadillas incorporate leftover turkey, cranberries, and brie. Feel free to substitute any kind of cranberry relish if you don’t have cranberry chutney.

Stuffed Pork Chops – Dress up pork chops with leftover stuffing. The recipe calls for cornbread stuffing, but any kind will do.

Turkey with Two Salads – Leftover turkey sits atop a delicious salad of spinach, mushrooms, dried cranberries, lime, and Israeli couscous. This one might be my favorite.

Turkey Salad Wrap – These simple wraps combine leftover turkey with mayo, honey mustard, white wine vinegar, lettuce, and carrots.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I wish each of you a peaceful day full of friends, family, and fabulous food.

I’ve spent the morning cooking up a storm… Mushroom Stuffing, Cranberry Grape Compote, Maple Nut Tart, and Pecan Pumpkin Butter Bars are all on the menu. I’ll post pictures and recipes next week when I’m back in my own kitchen.

I would love to hear about YOUR favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Post comments and tell me what you enjoy most!

Cranberry Grape Compote

Since Thanksgiving is getting so close, I had to throw another cranberry recipe in the mix. Cranberries aren’t for everyone, but if you like sweet-tart flavors, you should give Cranberry Grape Compote from the November 2006 issue of Everyday Food a try.

This may be the easiest recipe I’ve posted so far. I just combined a package (12 oz.) of fresh cranberries, 3 cups of seedless red grapes, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan.

cranberry_grape_compote1.jpg

I brought that to a boil over medium-high heat, reduced the heat to medium, and simmered the mixture for about 15 minutes. It’s finished when most of the cranberries have popped and the grapes are falling apart. I removed it from the heat and stirred in 1/8 teaspoon of salt. The compote thickens as it cools, and it’s supposed to be served at room temperature.

cranberry_grape_compote.jpg

The best part about this recipe may be that it keeps for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Dr. O doesn’t really care for cranberries, but I know I can polish this off myself within that period of time. This is an ideal Thanksgiving side as well.

TIPS: It’s fine to use fresh *or* frozen cranberries with this recipe. Fresh cranberries are easy to find in the grocery store during November and December, but a summer cranberry craving may require frozen berries.

Recipe link: Cranberry Grape Compote




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