A Wonderful Thanksgiving Day
Pecan Squares

Cranberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

The perfect holiday cheesecake.

A pecan shortbread crust topped with a cranberry glaze filling topped with white chocolate cream cheese filling. 



Well worth the effort. 

Let's make one. 




Grab some flour, pecans, sugar, eggs, butter, cranberries, lemons, oranges and cream cheese of course, among other things. 





First, make the pecan shortbread crust by finely grinding the pecans in a food processor. 





Add the ground pecans to flour and sugar.





Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add an egg yolk, 





and the softened butter. 





Start blending the ingredients from the inside gathering the flour mixture as you go. 

Mix the ingredients thoroughly using your hands.   





Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. 

I should have used more butter because this was very crumbly. Not being an experienced baker or shortcrust maker, I was afraid that if I worked in more butter I'd overwork the dough and make it tough. All ended well though.  





After the 10 minute refrigerator time, I patted the crumbly dough into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. I was careful to cover the seam where the removable bottom meets the sides. 

After docking the dough, bake for 10 to 20 minutes until golden. 





I still needed to prepare the rest of the dough for the sides of the pan so I added a little more butter and it was just fine, not tough at all. 





Once the bottom crust is cool, add the rest of the dough halfway up the side of the pan. 

 I just pinched off pieces of dough and patted it along the side of the pan being sure to make good contact with the bottom crust. 




So now you have a baked bottom crust and the unbaked sides. Brush them with egg white. 

Some time while the dough is resting in the refrigerator or baking in the oven, start getting the cranberry glaze filling started. 




You'll need lemon juice and lemon zest. 

The recipe calls for whole berry cranberry sauce,  I don't have any canned sauce so I made my own. 

It's really easy, all you need to do is, 



put a 10oz package of fresh cranberries into a saucepan with 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water. Cook at a low boil for 5 minutes until the berries start popping. 





In a saucepan add sugar and cornstarch, 




and 2 cups of the cooked cranberries. Cook stirring constantly until thick, then add the lemon juice and lemon zest. 

Set aside to cool slightly. 





Cover the bottom crust with the cranberry glaze. 

Now it's time to start the white chocolate cream cheese filling. 





But before you start mixing the cream cheese, reduce orange juice and orange zest to 3 tablespoons. 

It takes waaay longer than the 12 minutes the recipe says. Be prepared for orange juice volcanoes to erupt onto your stove top. 





To the cream cheese add sugar, 





and orange zest. 



The recipe calls for a cranberry liqueur, which I don't have so I substituted pomegranate molasses.



Add the cranberry liqueur or pomegranite molasses,





and the reduced orange juice syrup. 





Now add the lucious melted white chocolate, 





and the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. 





Pour the chocolate, cream cheese filling over the cranberry glaze in the prepared pan. 





Now, the recipe didn't say anything about wrapping the springform pan in foil and placing in a Bain Marie <water bath> but I did. 


I think that helps prevent the cheesecake from cracking. 


Once the cheesecake was finished baking, I removed it from the foil and cooled it on a wire rack at room temperature. 



This is after it cooled to room temperature and spent the night in the refrigerator. 

This next step, I will not do the next time I make this. Not because I screwed it up, but because I don't see what it adds to the finished product and it makes the cake hard to cut. 





To a simple syrup add thinly sliced oranges. 





An hour later the syrup is thickening and the oranges are softening, 





an hour and two seconds later you have a burnt sugar and burnt oranges. 

I suggest you watch it closely and turn the heat down after about 45 minutes of simmering. 





Lay the slices on a wire rack covered with waxed paper. 

The directions say to lay the slices over the top of the cheesecake. I chopped the good ones up and put them on top of the cheesecake. I think that made it easier to slice. 





The cheesecake is delicious. Very creamy and smooth.

Despite my fears about the bottom crust, it held together very well and was not crumbly when cut. 

Yes, I'll make it again but I think I'll jazz up the cranberries a little with some diced up orange and I won't make the candied orange slices.

Next time I won't be so intimidated by the pecan short crust and add more butter as needed to make a dough that holds together.  


Here's the recipe I used. 


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Cranberry White Chocolate Cheesecake


  shortbread crust:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup pecans, finely ground

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg, separated

1/2 cup butter, softened; *plan on using more  

cranberry glaze filling:

2 cups cranberry sauce, whole berry

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated

1 tablespoon lemon juice  

white chocolate filling:

1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice  

orange peel, 3-inch piece

32 ounces cream cheese

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon orange zest, grated

2 tablespoons cranberry liqueur

8 ounces white chocolate, melted

4  eggs  

candied oranges topping:

4 cups water

2 cups sugar

3  oranges, unpeeled, sliced very thin  

garnish: whipped cream

Directions:1. Shortbread Crust: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Working on a largeflat surface, such as a pastry board, place flour, pecans, and sugar in the center of the surface and mix together. Form a small depression or well in the center of the mound. Add the egg yolk and the softened butter to the well, then blend these with the dry mixture. Mix the ingredients thoroughly using your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.Chill for at least 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough to a thickness of about1/4-inch about 11 inches in diameter. Place the circle inside a 9 inch springform pan. Prick the crust several times with a fork to keep the crust from puffing up during the baking. Place the springform pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light brown. Allow to cool. Usingthe leftover dough, line the sides of the springform pan. Brush the reserved egg white onto the shell, covering the bottom and sides. Set aside until ready to use.

2. Cranberry Glaze Filling: Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan. Stir in the cranberry sauce. Cook over medium heat,stirring constantly, until thick. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. White Chocolate Filling: Reset the oven to 350 degrees F. Boil the orange juice and piece of orange peel in a heavy medium saucepan until the juice is reduced to 3 Tbsp - about 12 minutes. Remove and discard the strip of orange peel and set aside the reduced orange juice. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, grated orange zest, Crantasia, and reduced orange juice until smooth. Beat in the melted white chocolate and then the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined.

Pour the cranberry glaze filling into the prepared crust, spreading evenly. Pour the white chocolate filling over the cranberry layer and bake about 50 minutes (the top will be dry and the sides puffed slightly - the center will not be set). Move cheesecake to a wire rack and cool completely to room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

4. Candied Oranges Topping: Cover a wire rack with waxed paper. Set aside. Combine the water and sugar in a heavy shallow wide skillet. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes longer. Add the orange slices 1 at a time and adjust the heat so that the syrup bubbles only around the edges of the pan. Cook the oranges for one hour. Turn over the top layer of oranges and cook until the oranges are translucent and the orange peels tender, about another one hour longer. Lift and drain each orange slice out of the syrup, and arrange the slices in a single layer on the prepared rack. Let dry 1 hour. Boil the orange-sugar syrup until thick,about 6 minutes.

5. Loosen and remove the sides of the springform pan. Set the cheesecake on a serving dish. Overlap the candied orange slices around the top of the cheesecake. Reheat the orange syrup, if necessary, and brush over theorange slices. Drizzle any remainder over each serving.

Garnish: whippedcream.

I snagged this recipe from Floras-hideout.com
** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.84 **

And that's that