Cranberry Spiced Cheesecake
Adapted from Southern Living magazine by Tricia Wheeler
This is that mythical winter dessert—a light cheesecake. —SL
2½ cups vanilla wafers, crushed fine
¼ cup butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages of Neufchatel cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 large eggs
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 14-ounce can of whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Combine the cookie crumbs and butter, stirring well. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and cornstarch; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each until just blended. Stir in vanilla.
In a blender or food processor, combine the cranberry sauce, spices, and brown sugar; process until smooth. Set aside.
Pour half of batter into cookie crust; spoon half the cranberry mixture over batter. Swirl gently with a knife tip. Top with remaining batter, then cranberry mixture and swirl. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 225°; bake 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately; run a knife around sides of cheesecake to loosen it from pan. Turn oven off and return cheesecake to oven and let cool for one hour. Remove from oven, and let cool on a wire rack. Chill, uncovered, until ready to serve. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with fresh cranberries or sprigs of holly.
Wine Pairing—a French dessert wine called Sauternes. — Tricia Wheeler