22 January 2010

Cranberry Almond Cheesecake

It's almost Valentine's Day and I've been casting around for a yummy dessert that is a bit different, but has the obligatory red/pink theme going on in honor of Cupid. I think I might have hit on something. This is a nice twist on the cheesecake that I have always used - a cream cheese-based cake that is lemon-y and smooth. This cake, though, has almonds folded into the cheesecake batter to add a bit of a crunch, which I think is very cool. Since I'm making it for a friend who needs gluten-free foods, I'll be using GF gingersnap cookies for the lower crust. The beauty of this dessert is that I'll be able to make it way ahead of time, leaving time to concentrate on the dinner's main course. I still haven't decided on that... stay tuned. It's shaping up to be a nice little Valentine's Day dinner party, though!

Here's hoping that you have a fun day too! I'm casting around for a 'romantic' flick to add to the evening's entertainment... kind of  a 'dinner and a movie' theme. Any ideas?
 

                   


Cranberry Almond Cheesecake
adapted from a recipe in Betty Fussell's book 'Food In Good Season'

1 1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3- 8 oz. bricks cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2-3 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. gingersnap crumbs
1 1/2 c. cranberry-orange sauce, pureed (recipe below)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the sides and bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Sprinkle the crumbs into the bottom and around the side and pat them into place. Wrap in tin foil so that the bottom and sides are secure ( so butter doesn't drip all over the bottom of your oven!) Set aside.

In a large bowl,whip the cream cheese and sugar until it is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Add one egg at a time, beating well in between.

When the batter is very smooth, add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat a bit longer.

Fold in the nuts, gently and turn into the pan.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.

When the top is set and beginning to brown a bit, cover with 1 1/2 c. of the cranberry glaze and return to the oven. Continue baking for another 30 minutes or so.

Turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to come slowly to room temperature. Then, chill the cheesecake uncovered until cold. Loosen the springform sides, cover,  and store in a cold place until serving time.

Just before serving sprinkle with a few more slivered almonds, place on a pretty plate, and dust with confectioner's sugar.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

In a small saucepan, combine:

2 c. fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
1 c. orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
3/4 c. sugar

Bring the ingredients to a slow boil, then simmer until the cranberries' skins pop.

Remove from the heat and cool, then place in a food processor and pulse to make a chunky sauce.

Chill and serve.

Makes: 3 cups

2 comments:

  1. I nearly forgot that Valentine's was coming up so soon! I haven't even gotten around to thinking of what to do! Your cranberry almond cheesecake sounds very delicious and romantic! I suggest you eat a slice of this as well during your movie night!

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  2. Cheesecake is a funny thing... I must be growing away from the heavy cream cheese-based types, as on testing this one, Silent Bob and I have decided we want a lighter, fluffier cheesecake... so I'll be working on this recipe ... stay tuned.

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