People often think that my baking always comes out perfect. It’s definitely not true. However, I’m really good at improvising, and a little bit of creativity can fix most mistakes.
Unfortunately, in my haste I didn’t do a water bath and messed up the cheesecake presentation. The top completely cracked and sank an inch, making an ugly crater. I wasn’t excited about serving it to guests coming over for dinner. With the cracked top, I could no longer add a glaze.
I almost wasn’t going to use the cheesecake on the blog since it didn’t look good, but I wanted to salvage it because work was so busy (alas, I don’t have much free time outside of the hospital to bake over and over to waiting for the perfect cheesecake) and the cheesecake was still very tasty.
I had extra cranberries from Thanksgiving, and I sugared them (adapted from Vanilla and Bean), making them all pretty so I could cover up the cracked top.
You can sugar any fruit, although I’ve only done it with cranberries. Interestingly, candied and sugared fruit has existed since the Middle Ages. By replacing the fruit’s natural water content with a highly concentrated sugar syrup, the fruit could be preserved for much longer.
Mascarpone Cheesecake with Sugared Cranberries
1 cup (about 10) chocolate graham crackers
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 (8-ounce) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup fresh cranberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine crackers, butter, and sugar. Press onto 6 inch springform pan (you may have extra crust leftover). Bake until firm, about 10 minutes and let cool.
Decrease oven temp to 325F
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating until just blended.
Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Bake for 30 min, until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken. Let cool then refrigerate until chilled.
(Note: my cheesecake browned at the edges – I didn’t use a water bath, but that would probably help. I would also try a lower temp of 300F next time)
In a small pot, boil water and 1/2 cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Set to low and stir in the cranberries so they are coated evenly with the sugar syrup. Strain the cranberries and allow to dry out.
Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar on a plate, rolling the cranberries (which will be sticky) in the sugar to coat. Top cheesecake with cranberries and serve.