Cranberry eggnog cheesecake really couldn't get more festive. It's got everything that screams holiday, all in one creamy dessert!
You know how there are those years you’re just not feeling all the holiday prep? The cooking and the cleaning, the shopping and entertaining. Well this year isn't one of them for me!! I am SO into all things holiday. I can’t exactly put my finger on it. Why it’s different at different times in your life, but I am oh so happy this year is a festive one.
I started my shopping early and I’m almost done. That’s a huge shocker. I normally have plenty left to do the last week before Christmas. So this year I have so much more time to be at home and enjoy my decorations and holiday baking. I made this cranberry eggnog cheesecake as a tester for what I want to make for my Christmas day meal, and it is a huge contender.
Let’s talk really quickly about a water bath. When cooking things that are custard in nature you almost always want to use a water bath. It allows the custard to cook evenly and not crack. Sometimes though you want your cheesecake to have a dip in the middle, and then you would forego the water bath. It isn’t necessary.
It’s totally your call on what you want the end result to look like. I used a water bath with this recipe so that my top would be as level as possible for the cranberries to sit on. If I had a heavy sauce that I didn’t want to just run right off and have a sort of trough on top to hold it on I might not use a water bath. See how that works?
I’m going through all that to say that IF you choose to use a water bath for your cheesecake, make SURE you get a good double wrap of heavy foil around the outside to keep any water out of the batter. You see on my final run of this cheesecake, or what I THOUGHT was my final run, somehow I got a hole in my foil and had a massive soggy mess when I pulled the cheesecake out of my oven. It broke my heart!
I just grabbed a spoon and ate anything that wasn’t waterlogged and started over. For that reason I can attest to the amazing flavor combination that is eggnog cheesecake and cranberries. The eggnog gives a warm, almost fall flavor, while the tart but slightly sweet cranberries just pop out at you. I love it!
I just made a double batch of fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, and decided some of that should make an appearance here. It only takes about a cup. So I added a little tart cranberry surprise in the middle of my eggnog cheesecake.
I make a warm chocolate cheesecake (I know I refer to it all the time but I think for me it is my all time favorite cheesecake recipe) that has a layer of...well, warm chocolate in the middle and it’s AMAZING! I used a raspberry layer in my raspberry tuxedo cheesecake, too. Has to be my favorite technique.
But let’s talk about substitutions. You know, I like subbing things out that aren’t my fave so I’m helping you do the same.
Don’t love cranberry? Skip the middle addition and or the top and use your favorite fruit -- cheesecake goes with everything! Love cranberry? What about a double layer inside? Now that idea I like a lot.
I used a traditional graham cracker crust but there are tons upon tons of options. Have a box of gingersnaps, use those to make a crust (I hear it’s great). Chocolate would totally work, too. Add in some nuts to the crust. I use them a lot and they such a nice surprise.
Don’t love eggnog? Leave it out and use a melted white chocolate bar to flavor. OR use both, just taste your batter prior to baking to ensure it isn’t too sweet. White chocolate can do that. So many cheesecake recipes are served cold and that really goes well with holiday baking ahead but I love a warm cheesecake, so don’t be afraid of serving them that way. Especially if you have an ingredient that is best warm.
Cheesecakes are one of the easiest desserts to make in my opinion. You almost can’t mess up the batter. So have fun playing around and customizing to make it your own!
Get the recipes for Sugared Cranberries, Fresh Cranberry Sauce, and Cranberry Eggnog Cheesecake on Food Fanatic now!
Christy loves all things sugar, but especially pies, cakes, and tarts. She blogs about those and more on My Invisible Crown. She adores cheesecake most of all, so if you do too, you'll definitely want to see more from our Cheesecake Fanatic.