Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cranberry cheesecake #recipe + #giveaway from @AveryAames

Merry, merry!!

It's a special day! It's an "eve." I thought I'd do another giveaway to celebrate the launch of my next book, coming out in a month. A giveaway is perfect for the holidays, right?

What's the upcoming book? AS GOUDA AS DEAD The 6th in the Cheese Shop Mysteries. What am I giving away? A Mystery Lovers Kitchen tote bag plus your choice of one of my books from either series. See details below...

* * *

We just finished our holiday week of goodies! But that shouldn't stop us from continuing to provide you with deliciousness that you can put out on Christmas Day. 

If you already have all your shopping and cooking done (good for you!!!), you can always make this for New Year's! 

Many of you know I love cheesecake. I've shared many over the years. This one, in a Food Network Magazine, caught my eye because of the cranberry compote. I thought, hmm, interesting. Tart with sweet. It's got to work, right? Well, it does, and the compote is so delicious that you can serve it as a side dish with turkey! In fact, I made the compote for Thanksgiving, and my husband, who has been a die-hard cranberry from the can guy, fell in love with it and won't return to the canned kind! Yay, another convert!

So here you go. A delicious and beautiful cake, perfect for any time of the year. 

Note: I tweaked the temperature in the directions because, honestly, the cake came out a little browner than I like a cheesecake. It didn't change the flavor. It just required a lot more whipped cream to make the cake match the cranberry compote!  LOL

From Food Network Magazine
Cranberry White Chocolate Cheesecake
(tweaked slightly on temperature)

For the crust:
12-18 half graham crackers, finely crushed (about 2 cups crumbs) (*USE 12 large gluten-free sugar cookies, if necessary)
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the filling:
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped, plus shaved chocolate for topping
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the compote:
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries (thawed and drained, if frozen)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3/4 cup water

Whipped cream


Preheat the oven: First set racks in the lower third and middle of the oven, then preheat to 300 degrees F.

Make the crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands until combined. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan, which has been lined with parchment paper. Freeze until ready to fill.

Make the filling: Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a small pot; remove from the heat. Put the white chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and set over the pot (do not let the bowl touch the water); stir until melted, about 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pot and set aside.

Beat the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the cornstarch and beat 2 minutes. Beat in the melted white chocolate, vanilla and salt until combined.

Fill a roasting pan halfway with water and set on the lower oven rack. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and set on the middle oven rack. Bake until the edge is set but the center still jiggles slightly, 1 hour, 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake sit in the oven, 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

See how it's a little too brown? I checked my go-to recipe and realized the Food Network
recipe had the temp too high, IMHO.

Make the compote: Spread the cranberries on a rimmed baking sheet, pick them over and pull out any that are spoiled. Then sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar and set aside until they release some of their juices, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, the orange zest and juice, and 3/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.

Drain the cranberries (if necessary - it wasn't for fact I had sugar left over and I did NOT add it to the mix) 

Left-over sugar; do not add

...and add them to the saucepan. Cook, stirring, until they begin to burst, about 7 minutes. Transfer the compote to a bowl and refrigerate until completely cool.

Before serving, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake, then remove the springform ring. Top with the cranberry compote and shaved white chocolate, AND WHIPPED CREAM IF DESIRED.

To make shaved chocolate, use a vegetable peeler to trim curls from a bar of white chocolate.

AND NOW FOR THAT GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment. Tell me what your favorite holiday dessert is! One lucky winner will get a Mystery Lovers Kitchen tote plus your choice of one of my books from either series. 

Remember, leave your email so I can reach you if you win. If you don't feel like leaving an entire email, you can type a cryptic email, and I'll try to figure it out. I am a mystery writer, after all. I will not use your email for any other purpose other than to contact the winner.  I'll pick a name tomorrow morning. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or else I'll pick another winner.

Good luck!

Savor the mystery!


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NEXT BOOK OUT: AS GOUDA AS DEAD, coming February, 2015
pre-order here

STIRRING THE PLOT is available for order: order here.

If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! Big contest coming for the release of AS GOUDA AS DEAD.


  1. The cheesecake looks so yummy! My favorite holiday desserts are anything with chocolate (though right now it is the gluten free chocolate cookies with chocolate chips and walnuts).
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Jen, I'm going to attempt a gluten-free yule log today. Wish me luck!

      Merry, merry!
      Daryl / Avery

  2. Love anything with cranberries and that cheesecake looks delish! Can't pick only one favorite holiday dessert. (OK, I'm a Gemini, what can I say?) I love almost ALL cookies, (esp. with nuts) cakes & pies, and especially Christmas Trifles. Yum. Happiest of Holidays to you!

    lola777-22 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    1. Lynn, is it a gemini thing? I love sugar, too, and I'm a gemini.

      Merry, merry!
      Daryl / Avery

  3. My favorite holiday treats are pumpkin pie with whipped cream and I also like eggnog. However, that cheesecake looks awesome.

    1. Kaye, I used to make fresh eggnog until eggs got a bad rap. I'm sure the brandy would kill anything, but I don't take the risk any more. I do like an occasional eggnog in the carton. :)

      Merry, merry!
      Daryl / Avery

  4. My favorite holiday dessert is White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies.

    1. Liz...

      Oh, yum. Those sound delicious! I adore gingerbread.
      Merry, merry!
      Daryl / Avery

  5. Mine is a Danish Christmas dessert called Ris a'lamande. It is a rice pudding lightened with lightly sweetened whipped cream, almond slivers mixed in and served topped with Cherries in Cherry Heering (boozy cherry compote). There is a whole blanched almond in the dessert. The person who finds it in their serving wins a small prize/present.

  6. Oops, forgot...little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  7. This might be my new favorite dessert - anything cranberry has to get a vote. It's hard to pick just one thing, but by Christmas I've had just about enough pies. Apple slices are a favorite, though, and fudge, and fancy cookies, and . . . sigh.

    1. GC, what fun. Your new favorite. I like that. :)

      Merry, merry!
      Daryl / Avery

  8. I love pecan pie for the holidays.