Friday, December 26, 2008


"I will honour Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year."
~ Charles Dickens
(From 'A Christmas Carol')
Christmas Cactus
Cacto de Navidad
(Schlumbergera truncata)
~ Perfect for holiday entertaining loosely adapted
from clipped Bon Appetit (October 2006)
1 3/4 cups vanilla wafer or shortbread crumbs
1 1/4 cups finely chopped walnuts
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 stick unsalted melted butter
5 (8-oz) packages room temperature Philadelphia cream cheese
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. grated orange zest
2 tsp. orange extract
5 large organic eggs
2 large egg yolks
4 cups pomegranate juice
2 (12-oz) packages fresh-frozen raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
Mint leaves (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 500-degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan; wrap foil around outside.
  • Crust: Combine crumbs and walnuts. Add melted butter and blend until moist. Press on bottom and 2-inches up side of springform pan.
  • Filling: Blend cream cheese, sugar, flour, orange zest, and extract in large bowl. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time. Pour in crust. Bake until slightly puffed, about 12 minutes. Reduce oven to 200-degrees and continue baking until gently set in center (edges may be cracked), about 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes on rack, run knife around edges and cool completely; cover and refrigerate. (Can make 2 days ahead).
  • Sauce: Place pomegranate juice in large saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 cup, about 35 minutes. Mix in frozen raspberries and sugar. Simmer until reduced to 3 cups, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Mix in honey; bring to simmer. Cool slightly, cover and chill until cold. (Can make ahead).
  • Presentation: Release sides of pan. Cut cheesecake into wedges and spoon sauce over. Garnish with mint leaves.


Anonymous said...

Hey Joey - Happy Holidays! I'm with you...keep Christmas in your heart all year. Make the magic last! Your cactus is wonderful.

marmee said...

love your sentiment to keep christmas in our hearts all year. hope your new year will be the best ever.

Shelley said...

This sounds yummy! Have a safe drive up north!!

joey said...

Hi Nancy ~ enjoyed the good news on your post. Indeed, let's make the magic last! (I agree, my Christmas cactus is very joyful).

Thanks Marmee, knowing this is how you live your life each day. Indeed, this is my wish for all!

F Cameron said...


I've always loved that Dickens quote. Your Christmas Cactus is my favorite flower color.

This recipe sounds totally decadent! I'd better go walk a few miles before I try this one! :-)


beckie said...

Joey, I am just going to have to get a Christmas cactus-they are such a bright spot in the gray of winter.

This cheesecake sounds wonderful. But promise me you'll start posting some 'diet' recipes soon!

joey said...

As an outdoor/indoor crazed gardener, Cameron, my photos don't do justice to this stunning Christmas cactus. Don't know if your house is like mine but always somethin' cookin' since our home seems like a hotel/bed breakfast during the holidays (actually year-round between here and the cottage). I'm often teased that we (my husband loves to cook) should have opened a Bed/Breakfast and, if younger, still might consider it!

Can we talk about walking ... got a new treadmill for Christmas (thank you, Santa) since walking outside (as much as I love to) is impossible with the icy streets and sidewalks (I refuse to wear elastic banded pants :)

Hello, dear Beckie! My thoughts have been with you in loving thoughts and prayers. These recipes are not normal food fare in our home ... these are holiday recipes for family & guests! Our diet, as you know from past visits, rely primarily on a seasonal Mediterranean diet ... I crave veggies, fish, chicken, and lean red meat ( ... and occasional forkfuls of good desserts). With so many good cookbooks, I only post family favorites that work for our lifestyle. Hugs :)

RURAL said...

A great cheesecake recipe, and a Christmas cactus. What a wonderful life!

I worked the boxing day shift today, and it is nice to come home and see this recipe.

Merry Christmas!


Rose said...

Joey, I don't think I've ever seen a Christmas cactus captured as beautifully as you have here.

Cheesecake is my downfall--along with chocolate. I think I've gained 5 pounds just reading the recipe:)

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Joey!

joey said...

Thanks dear Jen ~ lots of 'good stuff' in life. Bless you for working on 'Boxing Day' (We've adopted 2 families for the holidays). May the New Year bring peace and happiness.

Dear Rose ~ I feel most fortunate to have known you, a wonderful gift. Please know reading will not add calories yet I can think of nothing more wonderful than sharing a forkful or 2 with both 'Thelma & Louise' :) Knowing you, your Christmas was wonderful. May the New Year bring peace, health and joy to all that touch us dearly.

joey said...

Hi Shellmo and thanks ... weather looking a bit iffy! It's not the snow but icy conditions predicted that scare me. We are high on a hill and have had too many issues, having to be hauled up! We tred carefully ...

Amy said...

Oh me oh my, I can just imagine how wonderful this cheesecake must be!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such a yummy recipe :) My hubby just LOVES cheesecake so will definetely give this one a go. Lovely pics of your cactus too.

Gail said...

Hi Joey, Beautiful photos! Really I am closing my eyes to the recipe...I am off sweets for a while;-) Oops, I sounds delicious!


Jan said...

Gee Joey, as much as I love coming to visit you, I may need to step away for awhile. I've gained 20 lbs. this Christmas, all because of you!! (just kidding);) The recipe looks easy & yummy, and I do love the color of your Christmas cactus. I need to go out and buy a Christmas cactus. They are so pretty:) Jan

Anonymous said...

hi joey! love your santa phots and your wassail recipe! what i enjoy most is the tidbits of history in additions to the photos and recipes! i am going to search your site for your turkey soup... i have picked my bones from the christmas turkey and am ready for soup! Love you!! susie

joey said...

Tuck it away for a festive autumn/winter day, Amy ... there will be plenty of time to 'hit the kitchen'. Right now, enjoy your cozy nest :)

Hi Sowing! I also love cheesecakes and have many favorites, never knowing ... which one truly is ;)

I know, Gail! Enough is enough ... but ... just in case one hasn't had enough (I love to tease)!

Believe me, I hear you, Jan ... thanking Santa BIG TIME for my new treadmill, thinking of what I will be cookin' next, as soon as I hop off ;) Bet you can pick up a Christmas cactus on sale ... they are so easy to care for, you might have to include it in your will ;)

Huge hugs, dear Susie! Head over to the Turkey Carcass Soup, much like your mother's (and your Mimi's I am sure). And how do I love you ... let me count the ways :)

Cindy said...

Joey - I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. Your Christmas Cactus is beautiful.

Philip Bewley said...

Beautiful Christmas cactus, and that cheesecake sounds yummy...It would look beautiful, too with the green mint leaves!

joey said...

Thank you, dear Cindy. Do hope the remains of this beautiful season surround you and your loved ones.

Happy Holidays, Philip! I always love to include the taste of fresh herbs. As a child, my mother taught me well ... presentation feeds the eye and soul.