Total Calories: 1,352
Yield: 1 (8-inch) cheesecake
For Cranberry Purée:
Combine cranberries, water, and sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer until the berries pop, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then purée in a food processor or blender. You can strain the purée when it is hot, but be careful when you process it—hot liquids explode out of blenders. Strain out skins and seeds, then chill. This sauce keeps well for up to 1 week, refrigerated. Makes 2 cups.
Cream together cream cheese and sugar, scraping the bowl well. There should be no lumps. Add eggs 1 at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. Pour 1/3 of the batter evenly into a buttered and lined 8x3-inch baking pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of the Cranberry Purée over the top. Pour another 1/3 of the batter over the purée, trying not to disturb the pattern, then drizzle 2 more tablespoons Cranberry Purée over the top. Pour in the remaining batter, smoothing carefully.
Place Cheesecake in another pan containing enough water to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. If you are using a springform pan, be sure to wrap it in foil so the water doesn’t seep in. Bake in a preheated 350° oven until set in center, about 1 1/2 hours.
Cool completely, then turn out onto a serving platter, and refrigerate. The Cheesecake freezes well at this point. To serve, thaw to refrigerated temperature before glazing.
Melt chocolate and water in microwave, or on stovetop over low heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup Cranberry Purée until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Allow to cool until thick enough to coat Cheesecake. Pour Glaze over Cheesecake, creating a thick layer. Smooth top with flat knife, allowing large, even dribbles to decorate sides of Cheesecake.
To serve, thin remaining Cranberry Purée with a little water until you have a sauce. Pool some sauce on each plate and top with a piece of Cheesecake. Garnish with cranberries and lightly sweetened whipped cream rosettes. Holly leaves make a nice garnish for the winter holiday season. Pass remaining sauce around in a small pitcher.
Fresh cranberries are hard to find except in season, which is in the fall. But they freeze very well. Don’t wash, just place the bag in a freezer bag, and they can last for up to a year; use just like you would fresh—no need to thaw. If thawed, berries will be soft; it is easier to chop or grind them while frozen. Lesson here, if you like fresh cranberry dishes, buy extra when they are in season.
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