ShareThis Page
Ambrosial cheesecake right for holidays |

Ambrosial cheesecake right for holidays

Rich, indulgent, and irresistible are words that describe this Christmas cheesecake. From the pecan crust and creamy filling studded with dried fruits soaked in orange liqueur to the sour cream topping, everything about this dessert is ambrosial. An update of an old family recipe, it is perfect to end a special dinner on Christmas Eve or Day.

This delectable cake comes with other bonuses for holiday cooks. It can be baked and garnished a day (even two!) ahead and improves in flavor as it rests in the fridge. It is easily transported in a cake carrier to another site, and it serves 12 to 14 with generous portions. Best of all, this beautiful confection looks as though it requires far more work than it actually does. It should definitely bring requests for seconds.

Christmas Cheesecake

For the crust :

• 1 cup finely ground pecans

• 1 cup graham cracker crumbs

• 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

• 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling and topping :

• 1/2 cup plus golden raisins, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

• 6 tablespoons dried cranberries, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

• 1/4 cup finely diced dried apricots, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

• 1/4 cup currants, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

• 1/3 cup orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier

• 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature

• 1 cup sugar

• 4 large eggs

• 16 ounces sour cream

• 3/4 cup sugar

Arrange a rack at the center position and heat the oven to 300 degrees.

To prepare the crust : Toss the pecans, graham cracker crumbs and confectioners’ sugar in a 10-inch springform pan, and pour in the melted butter. Mix with a fork until the mixture is thoroughly moistened. Use your fingers to firmly pack the mixture evenly on the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.

To prepare the filling : Place 1/2 cup raisins, 6 tablespoons cranberries and 1/4 cup each apricots and currants in a mixing bowl. Cover with orange liqueur and let marinate for an hour or longer.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl and, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, and beat just until incorporated. Drain the marinated fruits and fold them into the cream cheese mixture. Pour the filling into the prepared pan. Bake the cheesecake until firm, for 50 to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven but retain the oven temperature.

To prepare the topping : Whisk the sour cream and sugar together in a mixing bowl, then with a metal spatula or table knife, spread the mixture over the warm cheesecake. Return to the oven and bake until the topping is set, for about 10 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool to room temperature. Mix 2 tablespoons each raisins, cranberries, apricots and currants together, and arrange them as a border on top of the cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 2 days.

Makes 12 to 14 servings.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.