Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Brandied Cranberry Sour Cream Cheesecake

By: Anna Olson

“Decadent” may be a word overused for desserts, but it is apropos here. This is a cheesecake fanatic’s dream come true. A truly creamy cheesecake filling rests in a chocolate crust, while the brandied cranberry topping sits atop in the style of cherry cheesecake.


3½ cups (875 mL) chocolate cookie crumbs
2 tbsp (25 mL) sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
⅔ cup (150 mL) unsalted butter, melted

Cranberry Topping
One 340 g bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup (250 mL) sugar
⅔ cup (150 mL) water
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
3 tbsp (45 mL) brandy


Three 225 g pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) cornstarch
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature

Sour Cream Layer

2 cups (500 mL) sour cream (not low-fat)
⅓ cup (75 mL) sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and lightly grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan.

2. To make crust, stir all ingredients until evenly blended and crumbly. Press crust into bottom and to the top of the sides of prepared springform pan. Place pan on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Cool while preparing other ingredients.

3. To make cranberry topping, simmer all ingredients over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most cranberries “pop,” about 20 minutes. Cool cranberries, then chill completely.

4. To make cheesecake, reduce oven to 325ºF (160ºC).

5. Beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, then gradually add sugar while beating, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Beat in cornstarch and vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, scraping well after each addition. Scrape cheesecake filling into cooled shell (it will fill shell only halfway) and bake for 30 minutes. While baking, prepare sour cream layer.

6. Stir sour cream, sugar and vanilla to blend. After cheesecake has baked 30 minutes, remove carefully and gently dollop sour cream layer over cheesecake. Spread to level and return to oven for 30 minutes more. Cool cheesecake to room temperature, then chill overnight before garnishing.

7. To garnish, spread cranberries overtop of chilled cheesecake and chill until ready to slice.

Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) cheesecake. Serves 12 to 16


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