Cranberry & Almond Cheesecake

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12.21.15

A successful weekend holiday party full of friends and booze and dessert! We watched A Very Murray Christmas and agreed it was weird and wonderful.  It was also fun to make a few desserts I hadn’t tried to tackle and just made my friends the guinea pigs for all of them.  I finally attempted a cheesecake. I love cheesecake and I’d been wanting to try and make one for a while but needed a reason to do it.  This party was it.  What I loved is that I replaced your usual vanilla extract with almond extract. The flavor change up was a nice surprise and complimented the cranberry swirl. 

For the cranberry sauce
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For the cheesecake
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Almond Cheesecake with Cranberry Swirl
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For the Cranberry Sauce
  1. 2 cups fresh cranberries
  2. 4 tbsp sugar
  3. 4 tbsp water
For the cheesecake
  1. 24 oz cream cheese, softened and room temperature
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup sour cream
  4. 2 tsp almond extract
  5. 1 tsp lemon juice
  6. 3 large eggs, room temperature
  7. 1/8 tsp salt
  8. Butter, melted, for brushing on inside of springform pan
For the cranberry sauce
  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium heat
  2. Allow cranberries to break down, and the pot become full of juice, about 5-8 minutes
  3. Don't let cranberries simmer for too long or they will dry out and you will loose a lot of great juices
  4. Pour through fine mesh sieve and push all juice through into a small bowl
  5. Allow to cool before using
For the cheesecake
  1. First, prepare your springform pan, wrap pan in foil and place in the middle of a large roasting pan
  2. Preheat your oven to 500
  3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat your cream cheese on low-medium for a few minutes until to becomes creamy
  4. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and add half of the sugar and salt, beat for a few minutes to full incorporate
  5. Add the rest of the sugar and beat again, then add sour cream, lemon juice, and almond extract
  6. Beat until smooth and creamy and add eggs one at a time, being careful not over mix once all eggs are added
  7. While you are making cheesecake, boil a medium pot of water, and melt your butter, brushing the inside of your springform pan with melted butter
  8. Once smooth, pour cheesecake mix into pan
  9. Spoon small amounts of cranberry onto the top of the cheesecake, and taking the tip of a knife carefully swirl cranberry over the top
  10. Carefully pour hot boiling water into roasting pan outside of foil creating a warm bath (or a bain-marie)
  11. Carefully yet again, take your pan with your cheesecake inside and place on the middle rack of the oven, baking for 10 minutes
  12. After 10 minutes, keep the oven closed but reduce heat to 200 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 10 minutes
  13. Afterwards, turn oven off and crack oven door, keeping cake in the oven for about an hour
  14. Take a knife and carefully run around rim of cake to make sure it's not sticking
  15. Then, remove springform pan from roasting pan and foil and place in refrigerator, chilling for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight before serving
  16. Keep chilled until ready to serve
Notes
  1. *A bain marie is a hot bath around custard style dessert that uses the steam from the water around it to keep moisture in and prevent cracking
  2. *For an easier release, turn a bowl upside down, place the cheesecake on it, and release the rim of the pan so it drops down, leaving your cake undisturbed
Adapted from Bakerlady
Adapted from Bakerlady
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/
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The real reason I FINALLY made cheesecake was because cranberries were on sale and I just bought them for the hell of it, thinking ‘well I’ll figure out what to do with those later.’ But they did sit in the fridge for quite some time before I decided on  what I was actually going to do with them. I had no idea.  Once I came up with the cheesecake idea I knew it was all going to be ok.

I am normally not so careless when purchasing thing….cranberries…..clothes.  One of my rules is when buying something for my wardrobe is, if I don’t think of at least two things it can go with in my closet I don’t buy it. However, I went against that recently and bought a suede skirt in a berry color.  I knew I could pair it was the obvious colors (neutrals like grey or black….etc), but really didn’t have anything specific in mind.

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So how could I spice it up? Pick a color, pick a pattern? I went with a fitted blue striped tee from J.Crew that I love with anything. I wear this shirt with jeans, green skinnies, black skinnies, and now this skirt!

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I love the look of this, and when I headed to see my husband play at Joe’s Pub later that evening, I went more dramatic and pair it with a fitted black long sleeve tee, patterned  black tights, black heels and fun statement jewelry. This skirt is easily transitioned from day to night and it adds some color to your fall and winter wardrobe.

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This weather continues to be unseasonably warm (except the past 2 days which have dipped into the 40’s, but it’s predicted to be 70 on Xmas in NYC so that apocalypse is coming). However, it’s allowed me to skip jackets and rock some knee highs if I want without being cold.

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I love this locket, which a friend gave me as a bachelorette gift and has a tiny picture of my husband and I! How did my friend get the picture that small? The world may never know.

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Shameless plug, every year my husband, a close friend of our and myself put out a holiday album under the band name The Sugar Plums.  Our 4th album is out online and you can download it for free here!  You’re welcome, Christmas came early for you.

J. Crew Blue Striped Tee (on sale!!) / Forever 21 Suede Skirt / H&M Knee High Socks (similar)

We all deserve a little treat.....share!
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