White Chocolate Hazelnut Cranberry Cheesecake

There will always be a cheesecake on my holiday menu.  I’ve made so many over the years I believe they are in direct competition for my love of biscotti!!  The true beauty of cheesecakes is that they can be frozen!  Preparing a cheesecake a few weeks ahead of your planned party is truly a time saver while your guests think you are an incredible hostess…..  “wow…she works full time, raises two kids and throws together fabulous dinner parties with homemade cheesecake!  how does she do it all??…”  Yes, just smile, we are in on the secret together and I never kiss…oops, bake and tell! 

Some recipes just won’t work to bake and freeze ahead; but this one will just fine.  Basically a classic New York Cheesecake with white chocolate blended in the filling.  Toppings are always added afterward; therefore, a good solid cheesecake will freeze for up to 1 month.  Place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw and top the next day. 

I like to play up the crust ingredients, adding nuts for extra flavor.  And, if you know me, a bit of flavored liqueur just because. 

White Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake with Cranberry Glaze

Adapted from Bon Appetite Magazine, 1997

For the crust:

5 ½ oz gingersnap cookies

½ cup hazelnuts, toasted

¼ cup butter, melted

For the filling:

8 oz good quality white chocolate, finely chopped

3 8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature

6 tablespoons sugar

1 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)

4 large eggs, room temperature

For the topping:

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon Frangelico

3 cups fresh cranberries (12 oz package)

1 cup sugar

¾ cup water

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place a shallow casserole filled with water on the bottom rack.  (This is my standard way for baking cheesecakes providing moisture in the oven.)

To make the crust:

Butter a 9 inch spring form pan on the bottom and sides.  Finley process the gingersnaps and hazelnuts.  Add in melted butter and mix well.  Press into bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of prepared pan.  Bake until crust is lightly toasted about 8 minutes. Allow to cool.  Maintain oven temperature.

To make the filling:

In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stir the white chocolate until melted.  Remove pan from water and cool slightly.  Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until blended and smooth.  Add sour cream, Frangelico and beat until well blended.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Beat in melted white chocolate.  Pour filling into prepared crust.  Bake until top is golden, slightly puffed and center is only slightly jiggly.   Remove from oven and gently run a small knife around sides of the pan to loosen the cake.  Continue to cool in pan on rack, cake will fall in center slightly.  Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.

To make the topping:

In a small bowl dissolve 1 teaspoon cornstarch in 1 teaspoon Frangelico and set aside.  Combine 1 cup cranberries, sugar and water in a heavy medium saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves about 5 minutes.  Add remaining 2 cups of cranberries, grated lemon zest and cornstarch mixture.  Simmer until cranberries just begin to pop and mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.  Cool.  Cover and refrigerate.  Can be made up to 2 days ahead. 

To serve:

Release the cheesecake from the pan by again running a knife around the sides to loosen completely.  Remove pan sides smoothing sides with a knife if necessary.  Transfer cheesecake to a platter.  Drain and press the cranberries well to avoid too much liquid on the cake.  Top the cake evenly with the cranberries.  Any extra cranberries can be offered separately with each slice.  Makes 12 servings.

Note to Geni or anyone interested in making MINI Cheesecakes:   I use a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms.  They make adorable individual cheesecakes. 

39 thoughts on “White Chocolate Hazelnut Cranberry Cheesecake

  1. This looks incredible, Linda! I thought it was cherry-topped initially but reading now that those are cranberries just upped the “Holiday WOW Factor” by 100 points! I wanna come to your house on Christmas!

  2. I love that you used cranberries, but honestly… I can’t keep up with you! You are so prolific, by the time i wipe the drool off my keyboard, you post another winner!

  3. I honestly can’t WAIT to bring this to a party next week! It’s so gorgeous!Do you think I could make mini cheesecakes in muffin cups?Do you think they would lift out of the muffin tin ok? Please advise Linda! Also, I have one other cheesecake question since you are the queen…do you serve your cheesecakes on the springform pan base or are you able to separate them and if so, how? Thanks!!!

    1. I’m excited that you’d like to make this! It bakes up perfectly! I do remove the springform pan base as I usually make these for others and can’t give away my base!! I use a long thin knife to slide between the crust and the base working all around until it releases. Always make it a day ahead so it’s really firm the next day when removing the base. For the mini’s I use a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms. (I tried to plug in the shortcut but couldn’t in this comment – I will edit my post and add it in there). I’ve never tried using a cupcake tin as I’d be concerned about them popping out okay.

  4. My love of cheesecake is fierce! White chocolate cheesecake is definitely in the top 5 for flavors. I the the idea of gingersnap cookies in the crust for the festive flavor. All of this topped up with cranberries, it’s the quintessential Christmas dessert.

  5. What a gorgeous and decadent dessert! Love the idea to freeze cheesecakes! I’ve frozen different fruit pies before, but no one ogles at the time and dedication involved in pie-making, cheesecakes, on the other hand, turn heads 🙂

  6. Fantastic recipe and it looks so beautiful! I have finally managed to get hold of some cranberries, so will either have to freeze them or make this soon to eat this week (shame… 😉 )!

  7. That cranberry glaze looks fantastic Linda! As does the new header! 🙂 I’ve never made a traditional style cheesecake before – it looks delicious!!! And it’s easily one of my favorite desserts.

  8. Linda, this is a definite *wow*. Even having one bite of this heavenly cheesecake would thrill me! Love the toasted hazelnut in the crust and the lemon in the topping – a beautiful pairing with the cranberry. Very pretty tartan cloth in your photo…

  9. Oh I love cheesecake so much – I think it’s my favourite dessert ever, never tried it with cranberries though – it looks really delicious! I’d never heard of hazelnut liqueuer… something I need to try and get my hands on methinks! 🙂

  10. And I have been wondering what to do with the recently bought cranberries! Your cheesecake looks amazing! Hazelnut, cranberry and cheese are a very original combination, certainly worth trying.

  11. Loving the cheesecakes! This is another magnificent one! I am in love with the crust and cheesecake ingredients! You could host a sweet table and no one would ever leave it 🙂

    I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and New Year!

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