Cranberry Spiced Cheese Cake

Recipe from Southern Living, adapted by Tricia Wheeler

Serves 8–10

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

Photo by Catherine Murray

Photo by Catherine Murray

Cranberry Sauce

1 14-ounce can of whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cloves

Combine cookie crumbs and butter, stir well. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

In a blender or food processor, combine cranberry sauce, spices and brown sugar; process until smooth. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add sugar and cornstarch; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each until just blended. Stir in vanilla.

Pour half of batter into cookie crust; spoon ½ 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 1 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.

Suggested Wine Pairing by Janine Aquino: A French dessert wine called Sauternes