Christmas Swirl Cheesecake with Sugared Cranberries

December 26, 2017

This delicious Christmas-themed cheesecake is a variation on my Pumpkin Spice Swirl Cheesecake and sure to be a show stopper at your holiday celebration! Fresh eggs from your chickens and berry jelly plus a pretty fresh herb and sugared cranberry garnish will make this dessert a Christmas favorite for years to come.
The crust for this cheesecake is a twist on a traditional graham cracker crust. I like to use gingersnap cookies instead of the graham crackers, but you could also use shortbread or any other type of hard cookie you wish.

Christmas Swirl Cheesecake with Sugared Cranberries

For the Cheesecake

4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1-1/2 cups rough crushed gingersnap cookies (about  two dozen 2" round cookies)
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon holiday spice (I like to use either cinnamon or cardamom, but you could also use nutmeg or allspice, or a combination of spices)
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or an equal amount of vanilla extract)
3 fresh eggs
3/4 cup seedless strawberry or raspberry jelly
Sugared cranberries (recipe below), fresh herbs and whipped topping for garnish
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and set a teakettle full of water to boil.  Butter a 9" spring form pan and wrap two layers of foil around the outside. Combine the butter and gingersnap crumbs in a small bowl, stir to coat evenly and press them into the bottom of the pan.  Chill until ready to use.
With a stand mixer on medium-low, beat the cream cheese, granulated sugar, cornstarch and spices until smooth. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla bean paste, and then the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Pour half the batter into a medium bowl and set aside. Incorporate the jelly into the remaining batter.  Set aside one cup.
Spread half of the jelly batter over the crust.  Top that with half the plain batter, then the remaining half of jelly batter and the remaining plain batter to make layers.  Dot the reserved cup of jelly batter over the top and then swirl the batters with a toothpick.
Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan and fill the pan partway with boiling water, making sure not to fill above the foil.  (The water bath will keep your cheesecake from splitting or cracking on top).
Bake the cheesecake for about an hour and 10 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake jiggles only slightly when you gently tap the side. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edge to loosen it and allow to cool.
When the cheesecake is completely cooled, remove the side of the spring form pan and chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, garnish with sugared cranberries (recipe below), fresh herbs such as thyme, marjoram, rosemary or mint, and whipped topping.
Crush the cookies, stir in melted butter and press into springform pan

Whip cream cheese and sugar in stand mixer

Add eggs one at a time

Separate batter and add jelly to half

Layer batter over crust

Swirl with a toothpick

Bake in a water bath in a roasting pan

Let cool, unmold and then garnish and serve
Sugared cranberries add a festive touch


For the Sugared Cranberries


1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 egg white, whisked lightly
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Roll each cranberry in the egg white, then the sugar and then place in a single layer on a sheet of parchment paper. Freeze until ready to use. When ready to serve your cheesecake, decorate the top with sugared cranberries, whipped topping and sprigs of fresh herbs.






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