Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2008 Chinese New Year Test Kitchen – Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

My MIL requested for a tart cheesecake for the coming cny. I thought that since I needed to finish the cranberry sauce, I decided to use it in the cheesecake for her. I used the cranberry swirl cheesecake recipe in the Epicurious website. I made a few modifications since I didn't make the cranberry sauce myself, but used the one from Crabtree & Evelyn. The cranberry sauce with orange by Crabtree & Evelyn was delicious on its own. It's packed with fruit.

Back to the cheesecake.... I'm extremly pleased with the results - there were no cracks, cake was firm, yet texture was smooth. My hubby terms it as "swishingly soft". However, I can't find the cranberries nor a distinct cranberry flavour, after dumping in at least 2/3 of the 16oz bottle into the batter! Very light swirls and virtually all cranberry sauce sank to the bottom.... I think I will add the entire 16oz bottle into a small bit of batter in my next bake....

In any case, I think I will be using this recipe as my base for all cheesecakes.... You should try it, it's really a yummy cheesecake, despite the negligible cranberry flavour.

Calla's notes on the recipes:
  • I used oreo cookies for the crust, which is a good combination.
  • I used 3 250g-packets of cream cheese.
  • As I used a commercially-made sauce, I reduced the sugar to 170g.
  • I used a 200g-packet of sour cream, with no apparent adverse results.
  • I used 60g of whipping cream.
  • I added zest of 1 orange - cranberry & orange go well together!
  • I originally wanted to swirl the sauce into the cheesecake. However I noted that the sauce sank to the bottom! In a bid to save, I added the sauce to some of the cheesecake batter. But I think I added too little sauce and the marbling was not apparent. To experiment on the proportions again....
  • I baked in a water bath at 160 deg C. But from my oven thermometer, I noted that it hardly climbed above 100 deg C. As such, I thought I better baked it longer. In all, I baked it about 2 hours, instead of the stipulated 1h 15min.
I made some observations while preparing the cheesecake:
  • I first beat the cream cheese at medium speed till it flicks off easily from the spatula/beater. Scraping down the sides and from the bottom is important, as there are bits of unprocessed cream cheese stuck at the sides and bottom.
  • I then add in the sugar and beat it at medium speed till drops easily from the spatula/beater.
  • After that, I beat in, by hand, the sour cream, whipping cream, orange zest and vanilla essence. I also tried to eliminate, as much as possible, any lumps in the sour cream and whipping cream.
  • The eggs went in next, one by one, incorporating into the batter (again by hand) before adding the next one.
  • I also cleaned my spatula and sides of the mixing bowl, esp after adding the sugar, regularly to get rid of unprocessed cream cheese

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