Cranberry Cheesecake

cranberry-cheesecake

Cranberry Cheesecake on a Thanksgiving table (or any fall desserts buffet table) is a beautiful sight.

Bright red cranberry compote loaded on top of a creamy decadent cheesecake!

I love the flavor combination too, since the tartness of the cranberries blends perfectly with the creaminess of the cheesecake!

For those who normally don’t like cranberry (because let’s face it, it’s not the most popular flavor!)  I urge you to try this!

My homemade cranberry sauce is a winner on it’s own, but with cheesecake!??

C’mon guys! Give some love to those luscious cranberries!

They get a bad rap!

This is a building on recipes project since we have 2 recipe going on here, whether you prepare the cheesecake first or the compote it doesn’t make too much difference.

So here are the recipes!

Have fun and ENJOY!

Cranberry Compote
 
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Watch the video below for how to cook the cranberry sauce
Author:
Serves: 2 Cups
Ingredients
  • Fresh (Or Frozen) Cranberries 12 ounce Bag (336g)
  • Granulated Sugar 1½ cup (300g)
  • Cranberry Juice ½ cup (115g) (120ml)
  • Red or White Wine OR Water ½ cup (115g) (120ml) **You can replace the wine with water if you do not use alcohol in your cooking
  • Vanilla Bean 1 (or extract 2 teaspoons add last)
  • Star Anise 4 pods (or 1 teaspoon ground anise)
  • Cinnamon Stick 1 (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • Zest and Juice from 1 Orange
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottom sauce pot, combine all the liquids with the sugar and spices and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the cranberries and then return to a boil.
  3. Lower the temperature to a simmer for 10 -20 minutes, the sauce will begin to thicken and the berries will begin to pop.
  4. Discard the anise pods,vanilla bean pod and cinnamon sticks.
  5. *I did not mention in the video that I squeezed the juice of that orange in at this point! Yumm!
  6. transfer to a storage container and cool to cold - it will thicken as it cools.
  7. Pile on top of your cooled cheesecake (recipe follows)
Notes
Use Immediately as Cheesecake Topping and the whole cake should stay refrigerated for up to 10 days.


Or- Pour the sauce into a storage container with a lid and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks to use as a side dish.

Cheesecake Recipe
 
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Watch the video below for how to mix the cheescake
Author:
Serves: 1- 8" cake
Ingredients
  • Cream Cheese 24 ounces or 2½cups (670g)
  • Granulated Sugar 1¼ cup (250g)
  • Eggs large 6 (300g)
  • Vanilla Paste or Extract 3 teaspoons (15ml)
  • Sour Cream 1½ cups (330g)
  • Lemon Zest *optional 1 lemon
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs 2½ cups (250g)
  • Granulated Sugar 2 Tablespoons (28g)
  • Unsalted Butter 8 tablespoons (113g)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the crust by combining the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs and second measure of granulated sugar together.
  2. Press into the sides and bottom of the prepared pan then bake for 10 minutes at 350°f
  3. Prepare the cheesecake batter by creaming the cream cheese smooth with the first measure of granulated sugar.
  4. Add the eggs slowly, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure you do not get lumps.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest
  6. Add the sour cream
  7. Mix smooth then pour the batter into the graham cracker crust
  8. Bake in a water bath in a preheated 350°f oven for 20 minutes then turn the oven temperature down to 300°f and bake form another 1hour and 20 minutes or until it is no longer liquid-y in the center but jiggles slightly like Jell-O
  9. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool down while still in the oven for another hour.
  10. Remove from the oven cool completely then refrigerate overnight.
  11. Un-mold from the cake pan, invert onto a serving platter and top with cranberry compote

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ABOUT BAKING CHEESECAKES & SPRINGFORM PANS

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Caramel Sauce

caramel-sauce

Caramel Sauce is quite easy to make and can be used for a variety of different recipes in a building on recipes theory or just pour it down my throat because I simply cannot get enough of it!

This caramel is the same recipe I use for my fabulous Caramel Apple Cake and Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookies!

I cannot stress enough though, how dangerous this can be!

Cooking sugar to 330 ° F is not beginner stuff!

Please please be careful!

I have decided to update this recipe since many people have had some trouble with the version listed below.

Basically there are two ways to cook caramel.

#1 Wet Method

#2 Dry Method.

I am partial to the dry method (it is faster) but I should have thought this through a little better and shared the wet method version with you all since it is more user friendly and more for beginners.

So, I apologize for the trouble I have put you through.

Please accept my WET METHOD caramel recipe for those who are making it for the first time.

It is basically the same recipe just with an addition of water to help control the caramelization and a tablespoon of corn syrup to help prevent crystalization – another nuisance of caramel making.

5.0 from 3 reviews
WET METHOD Caramel Sauce
 
Author:
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • Granulated Sugar 3 cups (600g)
  • Water ½ cup (120ml)
  • Corn Syrup 1 Tablespoon (20g)
  • Lemon Juice from ½ a lemon
  • Heavy Cream1 cup (240ml)
  • Unsalted Butter 3 Tablespoons (42g)
  • Brandy or Rum *optional 2 Tablespoons
  • Vanilla Extract 2 teaspoons
  • Salt ¾ teaspoon
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy bottom sauce pot over medium high heat combine the sugar,water, corn syrup and lemon juice stirring to distribute the sugar as it melts to avoid any burnt spots.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved and it is boiling evenly, stop stirring and allow it to cook until it begins caremelize.
  3. Using a pastry brush dipped in clean water you may need to brush the sides of the pot to dissolve any crystals that form, or place a lid to create steam which will also dissolve the crystals.
  4. Once the sugar is a light amber color turn off the heat and pour in the cream, be very careful to avoid splashing onto your skin as the mixture bubbles up vigorously
  5. Add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon or a heat proof silicon spatula until it is all incorporated.
  6. Add the optional liquor and vanilla extract
  7. Transfer the caramel to a heat proof container (glass or metal- NO PLASTIC!!) and cool completely at room temperature
Notes
Caramel sauce can be stored for up to 2 weeks in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator
 
5.0 from 3 reviews
DRY METHOD Caramel Sauce
 
It is very easy to over cook caramel resulting in a bitter taste.
Be sure to stop the cooking as soon as it starts to turn light amber color, since the sugar is so hot it will continue cooking even once you take it off the heat
This is a caramel SAUCE recipe it is not the same recipe as used in making caramel candies
See note in above recipe for adding corn syrup to help prevent crystalization
Author:
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • Granulated Sugar 3 cups (600g)
  • Lemon Juice from ½ a lemon
  • Heavy Cream1 cup (240ml)
  • Unsalted Butter 3 Tablespoons (42g)
  • Brandy or Rum *optional 2 Tablespoons
  • Vanilla Extract 2 teaspoons
  • Salt ¾ teaspoon
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy bottom sauce pot over medium high heat combine the sugar and lemon juice stirring to distribute the sugar as it melts to avoid any burnt spots.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved and it is boiling evenly, stop stirring and allow it to cook until it begins caremelize.
  3. Using a pastry brush dipped in clean water you may need to brush the sides of the pot to dissolve any crystals that form, or place a lid to create steam which will also dissolve the crystals.
  4. Once the sugar is a light amber color turn off the heat and pour in the cream, be very careful to avoid splashing onto your skin as the mixture bubbles up vigorously
  5. Add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon or a heat proof silicon spatula until it is all incorporated.
  6. Add the optional liquor and vanilla extract
  7. Transfer the caramel to a heat proof container (glass or metal- NO PLASTIC!!) and cool completely at room temperature
Notes
Caramel sauce can be stored for up to 2 weeks in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator
 

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Basil Ice Cream

Basil Ice Cream

Yes, you read that correctly, “Basil Ice Cream”

No I am not pregnant and no I did not get lost in that special herb garden and start hallucinating!

If you have never tried basil ice cream, you are in for a treat!

The first time I had this was when I won a lunch for two at the only 5 star restaurant in New Jersey (at that time back in 1992) The Ryland Inn.

This was when my passion for pastry was just starting to bud and I answered all the questions correctly in a Foodie Quiz in the county newspaper!

I was awarded a special lunch for 2 and so I took my mom.

What a fabulous experience, I remember it vividly to this day; we were like two Cinderellas going to the ball!

Just regular folks being wined and dined and our taste buds experienced food as we never knew possible!

It was here that I was served Cracked Black Pepper & Basil Ice Cream with a warm Summer Fruit Cobbler!

Please be adventurous and try this out for yourself, besides what else are you going to do with all those egg yolks leftover from the Swiss Buttercream Recipe!??

For those of you who do not have an ice cream freezer, click here!

For those of you who like the one I have click here!

I decided to switch out the black pepper for an orange zest and its juice. But if you are feeling really courageous then go for the fresh cracked black pepper!  I do love it both ways, but I was feeling a bit orange-y today! (Must be the Florida rubbing off on me- hehe)


5.0 from 1 reviews
Basil Ice Cream
 
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Be sure to cool the angláise as fast as possible, it must gt to 45°f in under 2 hours to avoid the Danger Zone!
Author:
Serves: 6 cups
Ingredients
  • Heavy Cream 2 cups (475ml)
  • Whole Milk 2 cups (475ml)
  • Fresh Basil 1 cup (firmly packed) DIVIDED IN HALF (80g)
  • Orange Zest 1 orange
  • Egg Yolks 8 (145g)
  • Granulated Sugar ¾ cup (150g)
Instructions
  1. Combine the heavy cream, whole milk, orange zest, half of the sugar and the first half of the basil in a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn off the heat and cover the pot and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes
  3. Once the basil is steeped into the cream mixture, prepare the anglàise by bringing it back to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile combine the egg yolks and other half of the sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk smooth.
  5. When the cream mixture comes to a boil, temper the eggs (see video demonstration) and cook to nàppe. (170°F - 77°c on an instant read thermometer)
  6. Pour entire mixture into a blender and add the remaining basil, puree and then strain through a fine mesh sieve and cool quickly to avoid the Danger Zone
  7. Once the basil anglàise is cold, pour into ice cream freezer and churn into ice cream.
  8. Transfer to a storage container and freeze solid
Notes
Freeze Ice Cream to solid after it has been churned in the ice cream machine.


Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months
 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strawberry Puree Recipe

Strawberry Puree

Compote or Puree?

What’s the difference?

Well, they are pretty much the same thing, but to put it simply: one is pureed and the other one is not.

Why would you use one over the other?

Well, it depends what you are making.

Fruit compotes like my black cherry compote is the perfect filling for my black forest cake.

Compotes are chunky, they are chock full of fruit and can even be served with toast or scones for a breakfast treat instead of jelly!

Try a heaping spoonful of warm compote over vanilla ice cream….you will be in la la land for sure!

Purees are used for a variety of different recipes; for example in its most basic form it is added to smoothies and for fancy cocktails.

Adding fruit purees to sorbets and vanilla ice cream base is a no brainer.

Add to a simple syrup for a fruity infused layer cake.

But for me, the ultimate best best best is using a freshly made puree in a fruit based chiffon cake.

To Cook? Or not to Cook? That is the question!

I’m a cooker when it comes to making puree.  It’s the way I was taught in school and in all of my many jobs thereafter.

Many of the strawberry puree recipes I’ve seen though, are directing you to just mash or blend the berries in a blender and then you are done.

There is nothing wrong with this method for a quick easy puree; but I find that cooking the strawberries over a low heat with a small amount of sugar for just about 25 – 30 minutes really helps to break down those fibers in the fruit while promoting maximum liquids to be extracted.

Especially when your intention is to use this puree in a cake recipe, I will advise to implement the cooking method.  When using purees in cake recipes, it is important to get some of that excess liquid a bit more concentrated and slow cooking is the way to do it.

I should add that ANY FRUIT IS APPROPRIATE FOR MAKING INTO PUREE, so this is a base recipe, or rather guide to pureéing fruit since there is no real recipe other than:

Taste your fruit. Does it need sugar?  Yes?  Add sugar.  No.  Don’t add sugar.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Strawberry Puree Recipe
 
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Fresh Berries may require a few tablespoons of water to help the cooking process.
Frozen berries typically do not, since the thawing will create excess water
Sugar is not a necessary ingredient and one that should be adjusted based on the fruit being used and your personal preference
Author:
Serves: 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 Lbs Fresh Strawberries (Or fruit of choice)
  • Granulated Sugar 0 - ¼ cup
Instructions
  1. Cook the berries with optional sugar over a low heat from approximately 30 minutes or until fruit is breaking down.
  2. Add water only if the fruit seems dry and starting to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Puree with a stick hand blender or in a food processor or regular blender
Notes
Store fruit puree in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Freeze for longer storage up to 6 months

 If you are using frozen fruits, which by the way I think is fabulous since frozen fruits in my opinion can tend to be better tasting at times than fresh fruits!

But be aware that frozen fruits will give extra water on the thaw so you may have to increase the cooking time to evaporate off more of that moisture.

Other wise everything else is the same

 

BONUS FROZEN STRAWBERRY MINT MOJITO COCKTAILS!

Frozen Strawberry Mojito

5.0 from 2 reviews
Frozen Strawberry Mint Mojito
 
I am not much of a drinker, but when I do (hahaha) I like my drinks frozen, tastes more like dessert that way!
Author:
Serves: 4 - 8oz drinks
Ingredients
  • Strawberry Puree 2 cups (480ml)
  • Fresh Mint 20 leaves
  • Malibu Coconut Rum ¾ cup (190ml)
  • Ice Cubes 4 cups
  • Simple Syrup ¼ cup
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender until you have a frosty frappe drink!
  2. Enjoy!
 

 

 

 

 

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Ice Cream Cake

Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream cake? Yeah we got that…………..

But this sure ain’t no ordinary Ice Cream Cake!

Drum roll please!

This my friends……………….is a 7- Layer Oreo Cookies and Ice Cream cake!!

Last month I asked my fellow Gretchenators on Facebook to post a picture of their favorite dessert that they would like to see me replicate; and the one that got the most “likes”  Facebook_like_thumb  would be the winner!

The winner was awarded a cake kit of choice and my eBook – the Gretchen’s Bakery Guide to Owning a Bakery! Not bad eh?

7 layer ice cream cake - Bareerah Nana-PatelAnd here you have it- by popular choice ~ posted by Bareerah Nana-Patel!!
Bareerah used some different ice creams and cake for the original pictured here, but I will be putting my little spin on this Ice Cream Cake of course, so you all can feel free to do the same.

If you have a favorite ice cream flavor then by all means please change it up!

That’s the fun of building on recipes is that you can pretty much make it your own!

Just a couple things to consider when making ice cream cakes though, is #1 the Icing and #2 the Cake
That is if you even want icing or cake in your ice cream cake!

But for those of you who do indeed want a couple layers of cake in there with some icing to seal the deal….well we obviously have to FREEZE this cake at all times, so you should consider the cake choice to be one that will do well being served under those circumstances.

And wherever did we learn that? Why, the blog post called What is Cake? Of course!

Angel Food Cake is my favorite cake to use in Ice Cream Cake, since there is NO FAT in the recipe it will not be hard and dry when frozen!

Another good one would be the Chiffon Cake or the Yellow Cake since those are both made with oil, they have a better chance of staying pliable and softer when super cold.

I don’t have any qualms about eating my chocolate cake frozen either…I would eat that cake under ANY circumstance!

Next you will decide on the icing. Again considering that it will be frozen when serving.
As amazing as that buttercream recipe may be; I think that not many people want to eat it when it is frozen!? But hey, then again there are no rules really so you decide!

Whipped Cream is usually my choice when icing Ice Cream Cakes, however if you work fast enough you can always use some semi melted vanilla ice cream as the icing!

This was a trick I learned way back when I worked at Baskin Robbins as a cake decorator! Believe me it’s not easy to use melting ice cream as an icing! But it does really work well for texture, taste and overall effect of an ice cream cake! You just need a super heavy duty freezer to blast that baby frozen once you get it is place!

This time though, I will be using ganache since my cake just happens to be chocolate and oreos overload!

Why not make it even more sinful with a hefty slathering of rich deep chocolate ganache too!

*I will note that I had a tricky time icing it with ganache without a crumb coat, I highly recommend using a very thin layer of either whipped cream or buttercream or even some thickened ganache to make a base layer before pouring warm ganache straight over ice cream! What a melting mess!

So let’s get down to business….this cake ain’t no joke, WE HAVE WORK TO DO!

Yes the prep times says 24 hours! That is not a typo! 🙂

Ice Cream Cake
 
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It is best to start this project at least 1 day ahead of time and be sure to have sufficient space cleared in your freezer before beginning. We will have to go in and out of the freezer quite often while building this cake, so the colder it is, the better it will be too!
This is a building on recipescake so be sure to have all of your base recipes prepared ahead of time
You will need 4- 7" cake pans to mold your ice cream layers as well
If you do not have 4- 7" cake pans you can absolutely still make this cake, however you will just not have a 7-Layer one like I am making!
Author:
Serves: 1 - 7" Cake
Ingredients
  • Ice Cream of choice 2 Gallons (I used Oreo in chocolate & vanilla, vanilla and then Mrs. Fields Brownie Blast in chocolate)
  • ½ Recipe Angel Food Cake baked into 2- 7" layers
  • 1 Package Oreo Cookies (separate 1½ cups for the crust- the rest for garnish and fillings)
  • Butter (salted or unsalted) 4 Tablespoons (56g)
  • ½ Recipe Ganache
  • **Sprinkles, Nuts, Cherries for garnish optional
  • ¼ RecipeButtercreamfor the rosette garnish and if you decide to do a crumb coat this will be enough
Instructions
  1. Line the cake pans with plastic wrap and press ½ gallon of ice cream into each pan then freeze immediately for at least 4 hours or best overnight.
  2. On day 2, prepare the oreo crust by combining 1½ cups crushed oreo cookies with the melted butter.
  3. Press mixture into the bottom of a greased and parchment paper lined 7" cake pan orring mold as shown in the video
  4. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven (177°c) for approximately 10 - 12 minutes.
  5. Cool completely, meanwhile set up a double ring mold (or spring form pan with out the bottom attached as shown in the video) and place the cooled oreo crust in the bottom of the mold, then begin layering the ice cream on top of the oreo crust alternating with the angel food cake until no ice cream layers or cake layers remain.
  6. Freeze again until solid.
  7. Ice with your choice of icing and then cover with melted ganache and garnish as you wish.

 Ice Cream Cake Gretchens Bakery

 

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Black Cherry Compote Recipe

Cherry Compote

This black cherry compote recipe is  specifically for making my Black Forest Cake.

However you can use this for many other applications like toppings for cheesecakes or ice cream or even as a filling for any cake you can dream up!

Probably one of my most requested cakes here at Gretchen’s Bakery is the Black Forest Cake.

Black Forest Cake has been a long time favorite of mine in the cakes department!

So whatever brings you to this recipe whether it is for Cherry Shortcakes, Ice Cream toppings  or just because, you will be happy you got here because this is a real winner!

I couldn’t stop eating it with a spoon! I hope I have enough for my cake! LOL

Black Cherry Compote Recipe
 
Prep time
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The Kirshwasser is completely optional, you can leave it out with no substitution
Author:
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • Fresh Cherries pitted 1½ lbs (600g)
  • Granulated Sugar ¼ cup (50g)
  • Kirshwasser or brandy 2 teaspoons *optional
Instructions
  1. Place the pitted cherries and sugar into a heavy bottomed sauce pot, cover and cook over low heat stirring occasionally to prevent scorching
  2. Cook for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the fruit has started to break down slightly.
  3. You will notice a sauce begins to form and it is getting thickened as the cherries cook down
  4. Remove from heat and add the kirsh or other liquor.
Notes
Compote will thicken as it cools due to the natural pectin in cherry skins

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refigerator or freeze for 6 months

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