Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cheesecake...a balanced meal, right?

Well, they are protein (eggs), dairy (cheese and eggnog), fruit (cranberry), and grain (graham cracker crust)...
The tradition, or illusion thereof, started 3 years ago.  It was the year the house wasn't yet finished, but we decorated and had Christmas on the bare floors here, rather than in the 900 square foot single wide we lived in while we built.   We have photos showing green grass visible through the windows behind the kids as they enjoyed their gifts that morning.  But by the time we were headed to my parents' house, about 1:00, the snow was falling fast and hard.  We started out, but turned around after a few miles, realizing that we could probably get there fine, but getting home could be treacherous in the always nasty holiday traffic, plus ice and snow.
We only had our part of the Christmas dinner...Appetizers and desserts, which we set up on the counters in our combination indoor workshop and unfinished future kitchen.  Thankfully, what we'd made was fairly substantial: potato chips and clam dip, a multi-layered taco dip with tortilla chips, and 3 cheesecakes.
It was one of our most fun Christmases, and evidently the meal left an impression.  Last week when we had "Fake Christmas" at our house, Prince Stoic asked, "Where are the cheesecakes we can eat all day?"  We hadn't planned any that day, but for "Real Christmas" we had two...made by Princess Artiste.  We did have other meals this time...Fruit Bread toast, sausage, and eggs for breakfast, and a roast with salad, bean casserole, and baked potatoes for dinner.  But in between, they broke out the cheesecake.  
Eggnog Latte Cheesecake and Cranberry Eggnog Cheesecake
Cranberry Eggnog Cheesecake
from 2000 Taste of Home Annual Recipes, also available on the Taste of Home website
Preheat oven to 325 degrees on Bake.
Cranberry topping:
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup cranberry juice (we've also used cranberry combo juices, or grape)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
Combine topping ingredients in a small saucepan, heat at medium until boiling.  Continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
While the topping cools, combine the crust ingredients, and press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, then cool (in pan) on a wire rack.
4 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
4 eggs
1 cup eggnog (store bought)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add flour and beat well.  Add eggs; beat on low just until combined.  Blend in vanilla and eggnog.  
Pour 2/3 of the filling over the crust.  Top with half the cranberry mixture. (Refrigerate the rest of the topping for later.)  Carefully spoon remaining filling over the cranberry.  - The cranberry filling just sinks when we do this.
Bake at 325 degrees for 60 - 70 minutes until center is almost set.  Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge, then cover and refrigerate overnight.  (Princess Bossy, our resident cheesecake expert, advises turning off the oven and leaving the door ajar for the cheesecake to cool down slowly, to hope to prevent cracking.)
10 - 30 minutes before serving, remove sides of pan and spoon remaining cranberry topping over cheesecake.  Cut into 12 servings.

Variations on the above recipe for Princess Bossy's special creation:
Eggnog Latte Cheesecake
(my favorite!)
1) No topping
2) 3 eggs instead of 4
3) Heat the eggnog in a saucepan just enough to dissolve the amount of instant coffee or espresso crystals for about a cup and half of coffee, as specified on the product of choice.  Allow to cool to lukewarm or room temperature before adding to filling mixture as directed above.

Related Blog Entries:
Birthday night and "Fake Christmas Eve"
Including Another Grandma in Christmas - Her Fruit Bread


  1. Mmmmm. Cheesecake. We love cheesecake and I think I'm going to have to add your eggnog latte recipe to my repertoire.

    To prevent cracking, without the hassle of a water bath, I always start at 425(which is really high) for 10-12 minutes, reduce the heat to 225 for 1 hour without opening the door, then turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in for another hour, without opening the door. Perfect uncracked cheesecake every time.

    Princess Bossy is right, it's the temperature fluctuations that'll cause cracks.

  2. Thanks! We'll give that a try. The problem is baking it when we have all that time. Seems like we're sometimes fitting in right before we leave somewhere, or more often, late at night and waiting to go to bed! Thankfully, cracks don't affect the taste. ;-)

  3. THANK YOU for writing "espresso"!!! I know that as a believer I should not even have pet peeves. I'm sure I do many things to annoy others. But expresso and apostrophe catastrophes ... well, the world still spins and God is still on His throne. And it won't really make the world a better place so I'll hold my tongue.

    Your cheesecakes, OTOH... world peace, even if only momentary! DH and I used to eat cheesecake with decaf many nights BK but I've only ever made one or two. You make it look so easy, I'll have to try it for a special occasion... Valentine's Day, perhaps.

  4. Haha...I understand. Princess Bossy and I call ourselves Grammar Nazis sometimes. I'm sure I'm not perfect, so will be humbled on the internet for all to see!

    I'm sure you can manage the cheesecakes. My daughters make it look easy...And just follow Laxsupermom's instructions for the cracking issue. Hers are GORGEOSO.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...