Cranberry-Orange Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust
Contributed by: Barbara Fairchild of The Bon Appetit Cookbook
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Cape Cod's Cranberry bogs provided the inspiration for this festive dessert, a vanilla cheesecake scented with orange peel and topped with sweetened fresh cranberries. You can make the cheesecake and the cranberry topping a day or two ahead, then simply assemble the cake an hour before you plan to serve it. To keep the moist crust mixture from sticking to your fingers, cover your fingers with plastic wrap before pressing the crumbs into the pan. Because this cheesecake is cooked in a water bath, you need to wrap the springform pan in aluminum foil; this prevents the water from seeping in and making the crust soggy.
- 1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies, broken
- 2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 8-ounce packages Philadelphia brand cream cheese, room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
FOR CRUST: Preheat oven to 325ºF. Finely grind cookies and chocolate in processor. Add butter and blend until moist clumps form. Using plastic wrap as aid, press crumb mixture over bottom and 1-1/4 inches up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2-3/4-inch-high sides. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.
FOR FILLING: Increase oven temperature to 350ºF. Wrap 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil around bottom and sides of springform pan. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light. Beat in flour. Beat in eggs 1 at a time just until blended. Beat in orange peel and vanilla.
POUR filling into crust. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Fill roasting pan with enough hot water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until filling is just set in center but still moves slightly when pan is shaken gently, about 55 minutes. Remove cake from water bath; transfer to rack and cool completely, about 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
FOR TOPPING: Stir sugar and 3 tablespoons water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium; add cornstarch mixture and bring to simmer. Add cranberries; cook until beginning to pop, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Stir in orange peel. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Cheesecake and cranberry mixture can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
RUN knife around top edge of cheesecake to loosen. Release pan sides. Top cheesecake with cranberry mixture. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
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Serving Size: Makes 12 Servings