White Chocolate Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

White Chocolate Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake is a showstopper of a holiday dessert! {Brittany's Pantry}Sometimes you see a picture of a dish and say to yourself “Self, I must make that.”  That was my exact thought when I saw a recipe for this cheesecake in a Cooking Club of America magazine.  This was several years ago and if I remember correctly, I made it twice that holiday season.  When I made it again recently, scrounging up the recipe from deep within my archives, I was thrilled that it was just as easy and just and fabulous as I remembered it.

Generally, I am not a fan of white chocolate.  It is way too sweet for me (shocking, but true) and is, of course, not even actually chocolate.  About the only time I ever have it is when ordering a tuxedo mocha at a coffee shop.  But this was one of those pairings that I knew would be successful.  The rich, sweet creaminess of white chocolate cheesecake, punched with tart fresh cranberries cooked in orange juice; a winning combination!  And it is festive as heck, no?  A beautiful dessert to present for Christmas, New Years, or even a birthday!

Not only is it beautiful, it isn’t as hard as you think, as cheesecakes go.  You can make the cranberry sauce well in advance, making this a bit easier to put together if you are pressed for time.  Also, it will last for a good three days, so go ahead and make it a day or two before you need to serve it.  And even though I haven’t tried it myself, I don’t see why you couldn’t freeze it.  Wrap and seal it will and it would keep for a good month, I should think!  Just defrost it in the fridge.

The first few times I made this I made a mental note to cut the amount of cranberries in half.  Well, that mental note got lost somewhere on the desktop of my mind.  So needless to say, the pic you see above is with the whole amount of cranberries.  After I made (and then ate…) the cheesecake again, I thought gosh I should cut this in half.  The recipe below reflects that change.  It is really good, but a little too tart with so much fruit.White-Chocolate-Cranberry-Swirl-CheesecakeWhite-Chocolate-Cranberry-Swirl-Cheesecake One Year Ago: Potato Gratin & Chai Hot Chocolate
Two Years Ago: Indian Chili, Mini Corn Muffins, Brown Sugar Shortbread 

White Chocolate Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake
Adapted from CCA

If you feel like equal portions of fruit to cheesecake, and you really like tart cranberry sauce, double the cranberry part of the recipe.  It will still be fantastic, but be aware that it may take an extra few minutes to finish in the oven.

1 c fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c orange juice
zest of 1 orange
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

40 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed to crumbs (1 1/4 c)
1/4 c melted butter
1 T sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

8 oz white chocolate, chopped
2 (8 oz pkg) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
2 T flour
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/4 c cream

Put all cranberry sauce ingredients, except vanilla, into a small sauce pan and put over medium heat.  Bring mixture to a simmer and cook gently until the berries pop.  Stir well and set aside to cool.  Once cool, add vanilla and stir.  Set aside until ready to make the cheesecake.  You can make this a few days ahead of time and store it in the fridge.  Just bring it to room temp before you use it in this recipe.

To make the crust, mix all ingredients together until it looks like wet sand.  Press evenly into the bottom of a standard, 9″ springform pan and bake at 375 for 8 minutes until golden brown.  Cool completely.

For the cheesecake, melt the white chocolate in 20 second intervals in the microwave, stirring until JUST MELTED. Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  Meanwhile, beat remaining cheesecake ingredients together until smooth.  Beat in white chocolate.  Pour cheesecake mixture over the cooled crust.  Drop the cranberry sauce in small spoonfuls over the surface of the cheesecake.  Swirl gently with a toothpick.  Bake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until just set.  The center of the cheesecake should shift just a bit, but not ripple as if liquid.  Remove to the counter and let cool slowly until nearly room temp.  Chill until VERY cold-at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.  Slice and enjoy!

Note: As long as it is sweet, any kind of simple, homemade cranberry sauce would work here.  If you have leftovers from Christmas dinner, save some and make this cheesecake for New Years!