Oh hey there! Today we're talking about cheesecake. Rich, decadent, (perfect for the holidays...and well, everyday) cheesecake. It's not something I experiment with often due to it's decadent nature, and priciness of the ingredients (I'm looking at you cream cheese!).
I totally play favourites when making cheesecake, and this mocha cheesecake is what I make 9 times out of 10. Why mess with perfection?
So, obviously I chose to mess with perfection. Ha! And the results were pretty stellar. The idea of doing a white chocolate cheesecake with sugared cranberries had been rattling around in my mind for a while, and I thought it would be so great for Christmas. The added rosemary brings a winter-y touch, and it adds a subtle flavour to the cheesecake just from sitting on top!
White Chocolate Cheesecake (with sugared rosemary & cranberries)
yields: one 9-inch diameter cheesecake
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
2 cups (350 grams) good quality white chocolate (I used Callebaut)
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
3 packages of cream cheese (8 oz each)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
white chocolate curls
In a medium bowl, mix together graham wafer crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, and set aside.
In a small saucepan, place chopped up chocolate and the cream. On medium-low, melt together, stirring often. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, cream together your cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing well between each one. Mix in vanilla and melted white chocolate.
Pour batter over the crust, and bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes, or until the middle has completely set. Turn off your oven, crack the door, and let the cheesecake cool for an hour inside (to help avoid cracking). Remove from oven and cool on counter if your cake is still warm, and then run a knife around the edge of the cake but leave in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before removing from pan and serving. Serve with whipped cream, chocolate curls, sugared cranberries & sugared rosemary (instructions below)
*There are tons of tips out there on how to keep cheesecakes from cracking, and I haven't figured out the perfect combo for me and my oven/kitchen yet! Mine cracked in 3 spots, so I just covered it in whipped cream - nobody will know, and it tastes great!
Sugared Cranberries & Rosemary
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Sugar - for rolling cranberries & rosemary in
fresh sprigs of rosemary
In a small saucepan, stir together sugar and water, and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Once sugar has completely dissolved, your simple syrup is ready! Remove from heat and let cool. Place cranberries and rosemary into the syrup (I just hand dipped the rosemary), and then remove with a strainer. Spread out on parchment paper, and let them start to dry for about 10-15 minutes.
*If syrup is pooling under your cranberries or rosemary, just move everything around. You don't want anything to sit in syrup, just for it to be lightly coated.
In a shallow dish, place more granulated sugar for rolling your cranberries and rosemary in. Roll until coated (for the rosemary I just gently pressed each side into the sugar and shook off the excess). Place onto clean parchment, and allow to dry more thoroughly. These will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple days, and can be refreshed by rolling in a bit of sugar if they get humid at all.
Happy Christmas Baking!