I did not have any plans to make a peppermint cheesecake this season until I recently saw one on an Instagram. I thought, “That thing is a hot mess! How does this girl have over 20,000 followers?”
Aside from my mean girl jabs, I did think the cheesecake had way too much extra sugar and the filing looked sort of thrown together without much thought. Challenge accepted. Of course, I am only challenging myself. As luck would have it, I had a crew of electricians and tradesmen here all week to test the cheesecake. Their feedback was fantastic.
More whipped cream.
Men- always wanting more.
I took this basic recipe floating around the internet and made it my own by not using an Oreo cookie crust, but rather Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies. They make finer crumbs and only need melted butter as a binder. No extra sugar.
Then on to the filing: most recipes had cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, peppermint extract, red food coloring and whipped cream. Being resourceful and out of red food coloring, I cracked open a pomegranate, squeezed a quarter of a cup of the juice into a bowl and added it to the filling. It was light pink, all natural and full of anti-oxidants to help combat the tons of fat in the recipe. Plus, I had pomegranate seeds to add to my champagne cocktail later that evening. Win. Win.
Feel free to add a drop or two of red food gel. Be careful-a little goes a long way.
For the topping, I went off recipe. I opted for whipping Creme Fraiche added a dash of sugar and used it as a crumb coat for the top of the cheesecake. Then I whipped heavy cream, folded in more crushed peppermint candy and a scant amount of sugar and decorated the top with chocolate bark snowflakes from a recent shopping trip to the Metropolitan Market in Seattle. You can order similar bark here. I also sprinkled a dusting of crushed peppermint on the whipped cream. It’s like a little surprise tucked inside a frothy blanket of whipped cream.
Freeze the base at least 8 hours or overnight for best results. I popped my entire dessert into the freezer for two hours before serving. The whipped cream held up beautifully in the Florida humidity and it was much easier to slice. It lasted perfectly even after three days in the freezer so it is something you can make ahead. It is a fantastic dessert to serve after a heavy holiday meal. It is lighter than most cheesecakes: airy, sweet, creamy and very satisfying. If you like peppermint ice cream or cheesecake, you are going to love this dessert. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Frozen Peppermint Cheesecake
1 package or 2 cups of crushed chocolate wafer cookies, Such a Famous Brand
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla
red food gel or coloring (optional)
1/4 cup fresh pomegranate juice, optional
8 oz. Creme Fraiche, whipped
10-12 peppermint candy canes
1 TBSP plus 1 tsp sugar, divided
2 pints heavy whipping cream, divided
white chocolate peppermint bark for a garnish
Method Prep time 8 hours Totoal time- one day
- For the Crust:
Pre heat oven to 300 degrees.
Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
In a food processor, pulverize the cookies into crumbs- about 5-7 pulses. You can also use a plastic bag and crush cookies with a rolling pin. Add melted butter. Press crumbs into prepared pan using the back of a measuring cup to have an even crust.
Bake for 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven.
Let cool. Pop into freezer while preparing filling.
In a plastic bag with a rolling pin, crush candy canes into fine crumbs. It is okay to have a few larger pieces. Set candy crumbs aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip cream cheese until fluffy. Add in sweetened condensed milk, 1 tsp peppermint extract, 2/3’s of the crushed candy cane crumbs and EITHER red food coloring OR 1/4 pomegranate juice. Set aside in another bowl.
Whip 1 pint of heavy cream until fluffy and firm. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture gently so as not to deflate. Fill the springform pan with the cream cheese mixture. Cover well with plastic wrap and freeze at least 8 hours or overnight.
Save the remaining candy for the topping.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip Creme Fraiche, vanilla and 1 TBSP sugar until smooth and lightened. Remove cheese cake from freeze and uncover. Spread whipped Creme Fraiche over frozen cheesecake. Pop back into freezer.
Whip remaining 1 pint heavy cream and 1 tsp sugar.
Top cheesecake with whipped cream, sprinkle with remaining candy cane dust and top with chocolate bark snowflakes or other holiday candy bark.
Best if served right away, but you can freeze uncovered up to 3 days days before serving.