Whew, I survived Thanksgiving and dessert-a-palooza 2010.
It’s nice to be the dessert diva, but can’t someone just ask me to bring the green bean casserole sometime? Not only do they want an extraordinary pumpkin pie, they want a variety of pumpkin desserts, and then for me to “surprise” them. Here’s a cheesecake my friend Sara Lee made ... Surprise!
All right, I’m exaggerating. I don’t mind it; I’m just happy the pumpkin baking is done for the year. On to other holiday treats. How about a Fruitcake Cheesecake?
I know what you are thinking, but I think you will like the twist on this fruitcake concoction. I think fruitcakes get a bad rap, to be honest. I have had many a tasty one in my lifetime, but heaven forbid bringing one to a party or giving one as a gift. It turns into the pass-from-family-to-family game or the beloved re-gifting game.
I’m a re-gifting champ (sorry friends, I’m sure I’ve never done that to you), but no one will want to get rid of this creamy cheesecake filling combined with the candied fruit and spices. I use gingersnaps for the crust, which helps bump up the spice factor and complements the chewy fruit to a T.
The real complement to this tasty treat is a nice snifter of brandy. Many fruitcakes are soaked in brandy or rum, but I find it more enjoyable to drink the brandy than have it in the cheesecake — there’s a shocker — but I have had a fruitcake from the Caribbean where I could smell the rum from my mailbox, and brother, it was delicious.
So feel free to soak your fruit in some spirits before you add it to the filling. This might just guarantee your cheesecake fruitcake does not become the re-gifting joke of the season. And if it does, well, drink your brandy and don’t share; that oughta hit ’em where it hurts. Ahhh, my sharing holiday spirit is in full swing.
Now follow the directions, put some love into it and invite me over when it’s done.
1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps (about 20-25 whole gingersnaps)
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) packages of softened cream cheese
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3 large eggs
2 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups candied fruits (you can find in produce department)
1 cup walnuts
Mix gingersnap crumbs, butter and sugar, press into 9-inch springform pan (wrap bottom and side of pan in foil). Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 10 minutes. Take out and set aside. Keep oven on.
Combine cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice, mix until smooth. (You can use hand mixer or food processor.) Add eggs one at a time and mix. Add vanilla and flour. Make sure batter is smooth and creamy. Fold in candied fruit and walnuts. Pour over top of baked crust. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until edges just start to crack and center is still jiggly. Take out and let cool five to 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife gently around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Let cool completely. Refrigerate to keep nice and firm.
When ready to serve, set on serving platter and release spring form. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with whipped cream and garnish with bits of the candied fruit if desired. Enjoy!
You can watch the Dessert Diva every Monday at 8:35 a.m. on Channel 2. To contact Danette at the station, visit 2thedeuce.com, and click on Daybreak on the Deuce. To chat and/or send comments and suggestions, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.