Cranberries, seasoned with five-spice powder in a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread crust. This spiced dessert will be at the top of your holiday baking list.
Bring the Port, brown sugar, cranberries and vinegar to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium, stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes until some of the berries have popped and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Stir in one teaspoon of five-spice powder and check for flavor. If stronger flavor is desired, throw in a little more. Set aside to cool completely.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9 ½-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
Place the flour, brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, cloves, allspice and nutmeg in an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and run on low for 1 minute.
With the mixer still on low, add in the butter chunks and run for several minutes more or until a ball starts to form.
Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes or until the sides are lightly bronzed. Set aside to cool completely.
Increase your oven temperature to 400°F. Put a kettle on to heat up some water. You’ll need this for your water bath.
In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the softened cream cheese and sugar on low for about 2 minutes. Use your spatula to scrape down the sides, to make sure everything is incorporated.
Add the eggs and yolk one at a time, blending completely before you add in the next and scraping down the sides to make sure everything gets well blended together. Keep your machine on low.
Add the room temperature sour cream and salt. Mix on low for another 2 minutes until well blended. Use the side of your spatula to smash down any rogue chunks of cream cheese that are resisting blending in.
Wrap your cooled springform pan, with the crust in it, in two layers of foil and set in a large roasting pan. Spread your cooled cranberries over the crust. Then pour the cheesecake filling in the springform pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven. Pour the boiling water in the pan being careful not to get any water in the springform pan. Fill to about 1 cm up the side of the cheesecake pan. Should be about 3 to 4 cups of water. Bake for 15 minutes.
Turn the oven temperature to 250°F and bake for 1 hour more.
When the timer goes off, turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 30 minutes, with the door open, still in the water bath. After 30 minutes take the cheesecake out of the oven. Let it sit at room temperature for about one hour. When cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap (still in the springform pan) and set in the fridge to set for at least several hours and up to several days.
When ready to serve, open your springform pan. Do this slowly. If the cheesecake is pretty well connected to the pan, use a sharp knife to run around the outer edges of the cake…do this by the sink and periodically run the knife under warm water to clean it and make the cake release easier.
Sprinkle with cranberries and sage leaves if desired.
Writer, recipe developer, photographer and creator of the Saveur-nominated food blog, DisplacedHousewife. Rebecca’s work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Bake From Scratch, Buzzfeed, Epicurious, California Homes Magazine, feedfeed and Sunset Magazine. She lives in California. See what she's got cooking up by following them on: Instagram Facebook Pinterest Twitter