Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Cheesecake Recipe

From Avery and Daryl:
It's our MLK Holiday Week Special.

Happy Holidays!!

Are you shopping? Will you shop? Are you one of those who shop early and ship by the recommended post office date? 

No matter what, it's time to celebrate. 
Life, joy, love, tradition.

Tradition: a ritual or event, passed along within a society, maintained in the present with origins in the past. [Cue: the fabulous song from Fiddler on the Roof.]

I love a tradition, don’t you? There’s something comforting about a tradition. You know when, where, and how. Granted, you don’t always know who, because, with the huge geographical challenges in our society today, those who started a tradition could be as far off as Europe or Asia or beyond. But it is tradition that makes me feel comfortable. I fondly remember times spent with family. I recall stories. I hear the laughter and the clink of glasses and carols. I adore the rituals: setting the table, decorating the tree, putting out funky Christmas collectibles. 
Daryl Wood Gerber

And I can smell the aromas: cinnamon candles, meat roasting, cookies fresh from the oven. My grandmother, rest her soul, always celebrated Christmas with a special dinner. I continue to serve that exact meal to my family. I’m pretty sure my family appreciates the meal; they request it every year.  It’s so special to me, that I’ve added it as a meal in the latest CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY, To Brie or not To Brie.

 But this time I designated the meal to be a family meal served in October to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Charlotte’s cousin to her best friend. Charlotte prepares the meal at Christmas, too, but if it’s that good, why not serve it throughout the year, right?

The meal consists of roast beef (cooked on the rib). That alone makes the house smell rich and salty. Crisp string beans, steamed in butter. And Yorkshire pudding, also served with butter. Mind you, this is not a cholesterol-free meal. What is Yorkshire pudding? It’s a tasty little dish made with flour, eggs, and milk, like a popover. It’s so easy to make. And for Clair, Charlotte’s gluten-allergic “niece,” Charlotte makes a gluten-free version. (I’ve included that recipe in To Brie or not To Brie).

For dessert, my grandmother always gave us a choice at the end of our family meal. She adored desserts. I think she and Julia Child would have been kindred spirits. In To Brie or not To Brie, Charlotte is taste testing desserts and little tarts that might be offered at her friend’s wedding. My grandmother always offered fabulous sugar cookies (with walnuts pressed into the center…I remember pulling out the nuts…turned out I was allergic! The recipe is on my website). And she often served a New York-style cheesecake. My favorite!

For today’s post, I’ve dressed up the cheesecake so it looks more holiday “festive.” But it’s absolutely delish plain. Enjoy! And may the memories of Sugar Plum fairies dance in your dreams.



1 lb. Ricotta cheese
¼ c. sweet  rice flour
½ teaspoon Xanthan gum
 4 egg yolks
½ c. sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
16 oz. cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
4 egg whites (no yolks!)
½ cup sugar
½ cup crushed gingersnap or sugar cookies (Gluten-free)
2 tablespoons butter


12-18 maraschino cherries
sprigs of rosemary
extra sour cream
powdered sugar


Mix ricotta cheese, rice flour, xantham gum, egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, salt until well blended.

Add cream cheese and sour cream and mix well.

Mix separately:  egg whites (with no egg yolks in them) and ½ cup sugar until egg whites form a soft peak (about 6-8 minutes on high).

Fold the egg white mixture gently into the cheese mixture.

In a springform pan, set ½ cup crushed cookies (of your choice).  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons butter and press with your fingertips to create a “crust.”

Pour cheese mixture on top of cookie crust.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1- 1 ¼ hour.

When the cake is done baking, let STAND IN OVEN, turned off, for 2 hours so the cheesecake will set and not droop.

Remove springform exterior. Cool in refrigerator for at least six hours.

Remove cake from springform bottom (slipping a spatula or cake knife beneath the parchment paper). Set cake on plate. Decorate with extra sour cream, cherries, and rosemary dusted with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

***Note: I made a half recipe and used a 6” springform. The only thing that is different is the cooking time. About 45-50 minutes. Do the same at the end. Let the cake STAND IN OVEN, turned off, for 1-1.5 hours so the cheesecake will set and not droop.

***Second Note: You can also top with cherry pie filling, if so desired. 

* * * * * * *

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 
coming February 2013.

You can pre-order the book HERE. 

Click this link to watch the TRAILER

Click this link to read an EXCERPT.

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Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego,
DARYL WOOD GERBER...and her new series
debuts July 2013

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"She" doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

Say cheese!



  1. Cheesecake is the ultimate indulgence. I love it. Oddly enough, I rarely make it, except for the holidays. This looks lovely, Daryl. And how cute is that rosemary sprig, dusted with "snow"!

    ~ Krista

  2. What a beautiful dessert for Christmas dinner! Thank you for sharing your heartfelt memories with us, Daryl, and may you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas and joyous new year. ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks, Cleo. May you and yours enjoy a good season, as well. Congrats, again on your hitting #10 on NYT. Wahoo!!! Cozies rule. :)