This is not a diet food, this is a full blown cheesecake. If you're on a diet, eat less.
Cheesecake with orange cranberry walnut crust
If you can't find orange flavored cranberries, feel free to substitute regular dried cranberries, which are equally awesome, yet different. Search out an awesome marmalade, but I confess that most marmalades are better than no marmalade.
Do your best to find sour cream without thickeners and gums. It will spread easier over the hot cheesecake, while thicker ones will be harder to spread without tearing the cheesecake.
Now, go forth and bake!
1 1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup dried Trader Joe's orange flavored cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
The cheesecake proper
3 8oz packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup half and half
The sour cream topping
24 oz good sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
On the side
A jar of awesome marmalade, like Bonne Maman's Orange or St. Dalfour's Kumquat
or, as we had in the morning, fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 375°
In small batches, pulse the walnuts in a blender until chopped and semi-powdered. It's okay to have some chunks. Remove to a bowl and do the same for the cranberries. Go for chopped only, not powdered. Stir in the sugar and mix well. Stir in the butter and mix well, once more. Press into the bottom of a 10" spring form pan. Put the crust in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
Reduce oven to 325° and allow crust to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Cream (mix until creamy...) the cream cheese and sugar using a mixer. If you must do it by hand, do it a long time and really try to get some air into that thing! Add vanilla and 1 egg, mixing well until smooth. Scrape down and repeat with the 2nd egg. Scrape down and repeat with egg #3. Add the half and half and mix well.
Pour the creamy filling over the crust and return the pan to the 325° oven for 60-75 minutes (check it at 60, please) or until the middle is jiggly, but no longer runny. The top may also become slightly golden, which is a good sign, but probably a sign to take it out of the oven, too.
In a separate bowl stir the room temperature sour cream and sugar together, mixing very well. It should be smooth and easily poured. When the cheesecake comes out of the oven, immediately pour the topping over the cake, and gently smooth it over the surface. Return the cake to the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool to room temperature, then run a thin knife around the side to free it from the ring. Chill for about 3-4 hours before covering so it doesn't get condensation. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 more hours or until the next day.
Serve plain, with marmalade, or with berries.
Happy birthday, Stela!