[Recipe adapted from Woman’s Day; photo by Charles Schiller]
Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake
1 bag (12 oz) frozen raspberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp water
12 to 15 whole chocolate graham crackers, depending on brand (see Step 3)
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) cold butter, cut up
3 bricks (8 oz each) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz white baking chocolate, melted as pkg directs
Garnish – Raspberries and small mint sprigs
Press raspberries with a rubber spatula through a fine strainer set over a small saucepan; discard pulp and seeds. Stir in sugar. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Stir cornstarch mixture into raspberry mixture and bring to a boil, stirring just until thickened. Cool and keep aside to use later.
Heat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8 x 3-in. springform pan with nonstick spray.
Break graham crackers into food processor. Process until fine crumbs form. Measure crumbs (you’ll need 11/2 cups), processing more if necessary. Add butter; process until crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer to prepared pan; pat firmly over bottom and a scant 2 in. up sides (no need to be even).
Beat cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed, scraping down sides occasionally, until smooth. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, just until blended. Beat in sour cream and vanilla, then white chocolate until blended. Pour into crust.
Starting 1 in. from edge of pan, using photo as a guide, drop 12 evenly spaced 1/2-in. round puddles of raspberry sauce in a circle on cake batter. Make a second circle of 1/4-in. puddles 1 in. from first circle and a third ring of very small puddles 1 in. from second circle. Starting with outer circle, pull tip of a toothpick through each puddle to form hearts. Pull pick through puddles in second circle in opposite direction. Repeat direction used in first circle in inside ring of puddles. Refrigerate remaining sauce to serve with cheesecake.
Bake cake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 250°F and bake 11/4 hours or until center just barely jiggles when shaken. Turn off oven (leave door closed); cool cake in oven 1 hour, then remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Carefully run a thin knife around edge of pan to release cake. Remove pan sides; place cake on a serving plate. Place in cake keeper or cover with a bowl or pot. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
About 1 hour before serving: Remove cake and sauce to room temperature. Garnish cake with raspberries and mint sprigs. Serve with the sauce.
Planning Tip: The cake can be completed up to 4-days ahead. Refrigerate covered and remove 1 hour prior to serving.