27 April 2011

Cranberry New York Cheesecake

New York Cheesecakes are by far my favourite kind of cheesecakes. I like that they are dense and cheesy, and when combined with chocolate,  deliciously fudgey.  A ruby red cranberry topping just takes it over the top.

I adapted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen by (1) adding in whipping cream to lighten up the texture of the cheesecake, (2) incorporating chocolate into the bottom layer of the cheesecake; and (3) giving the cake a cranberry topping. I do love how the bright red topping spills dramatically down the cake when you cut it.
Recipe for Cranberry New York Cheesecake
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Crumb crust
8 ounces (227g) finely ground graham crackers or digestives

8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Very tall cheesecake filling:
5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (or 1134g) (I used Elle Et Vire, great quality and cheaper than Philadelphia. Pick it up from Euraco finefood, next to TOTT Store)
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup whipping cream
200g dark chocolate

Make crumb crust: Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides, stopping one inch shy of the top rim**, of a buttered 9 1/2-inch (or 24 cm) springform pan. Pop it into the freezer so it quickly sets while you prepare the filling.

Make very tall cheesecake filling: Preheat oven to 550 degrees***. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour and zest with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape bowl down between additions; I cannot stress this enough as if you do not, you’ll end up with unmixed stripes of cream cheese. I always find at least one, despite my best efforts. Stir in whipping cream and mix until evenly blended.

Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, taking care not to burn it.  Divide cheesecake filling in half.  Mix one half with the melted dark chocolate, until even.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan (to catch drips). Pour chocolate filling into crust, smoothen the top, then pour the remaining cheesecake mixture in the pan. Bake in baking pan in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until puffed. Please watch your cake because some ovens will top-brown very quickly and if yours does too fast, turn the oven down as soon as you catch it. Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about one hour more.

Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in springform on a rack, then chill it, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.

Recipe for Cranberry Topping
(adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum)

1 cup (100g) fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (75g) sugar
2.5 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup (59g) water

(Note: If you like more topping, you can use 1.5 recipe like I did) 
In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cornstarch and cranberries and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stop stirring, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 minute, swirling the pan occasionally. The mixture will be thick but pourable. Allow it to cool to room temperature.  Spread topping over chilled cheesecake.



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