Anna Olson’s Cheesecake with Holiday Fruit Compote

cheesecake 3

Today it’s going to be short and sweet. (Literally.) I forgot to tell you about this cheesecake.

One day while I was out in Jasper, I snuck samples of Anna Olson‘s classic New York cheesecake out of her CIN session to take a few photos outside – warding off the chipmunks – and then spread eagled on my perfectly made (ironed, even) sheets and ate both – with a magazine and a latte.


I always learn something from Anna and Michael – this year I managed to sit in on only a bit of their session, but learned that if you put the base of your springform pan in upside down, you get rid of that lip that makes it almost impossible to cleanly slide a cake server or knife under your slice of cheesecake to get it out. Smart lady, she is. And she always has great hair. (I do not. I try.)

Of course being the queen of everything sweet, she makes a mean cheesecake -and a super fab holiday fruit compote to drape overtop- and cutting them into squares totally makes them finger food. I think I like hers better than my standard cheesecake, one from the old Canadian Living Cookbook I’ve used since I was a teenager and 80s Mike decided he was mature enough to upgrade the angel food birthday cake of his childhood to a far more sophisticated plain cheesecake. Truth.

Anna Olson’s Classic New York Cheesecake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted (plus a bit extra)

4 – 250g pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups sour cream (not low-fat), divided
2 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F

To make the crust, stir the graham crumbs, sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter until evenly combined and press into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool. Brush the sides of the pan with a little melted butter.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the 1 1/4 cups of sugar a little at a time, and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl often. Beat in the cornstarch, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat in the eggs one at a time, on a lower speed, and scraping after each addition, then beat in the yolk. Still on low speed, beat in 3/4 cup of sour cream. Scrape this over the cooled crust.

Bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes at 400°F and then reduce the oven temperature to 225°F and bake for 25 more minutes. Turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake in for an hour, cracking the oven door after 30 minutes.

While the cheesecake is baking, prepare the sour cream layer – stir the remaining 3/4 cup of sour cream with the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar and the lemon juice. Spread this over the top of the cheesecake as soon as it has come out of the oven. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely to room temperature, then carefully run a spatula around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan, then chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours before slicing and serving. The cheesecake will keep, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.

Holiday Fruit Compote

4 cups peeled and diced ripe bartlett pears
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup orange liqueur (optional)

Bring all ingredients up to a simmer in a large, heavy- bottomed saucepot, stirring often. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until pears are tender and cranberries have popped. Pack into sterilized jars and seal, or store refrigerated for up to 4 weeks.

Compote can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Makes about 8 cups.

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November 25 2013 09:20 pm | cake and dessert and preserves

15 Responses to “Anna Olson’s Cheesecake with Holiday Fruit Compote”

  1. Nicole on 25 Nov 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    I have a weakness for cheesecake and that one is calling my name!

  2. CathyH on 25 Nov 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Okay, I will HAVE to make this. For sure. Cheesecake anything is the best dessert ever. Thank you once again Julie!

  3. Fiona on 25 Nov 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Well, will you look at that? You just took care of my Mike’s birthday cake for this year. Thanks! (Note to self: buy springform pan.)

  4. bellini on 26 Nov 2013 at 5:33 am #

    It would be extremely hard to resist Julie.

  5. Lana on 26 Nov 2013 at 8:54 am #

    That looks fantastic!
    About your hair- I learned at the age of 40 that I had been parting my hair on the wrong side ALL THESE YEARS. I wanted it to lie flat in a diagonal across my forehead but I kept getting a bit of a flip at the top. Changed sides, and VOILA! Just in case that’s something you’d like to try……

  6. Vivian on 26 Nov 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Anna is really good on TV. In her series called “Baking” (on Global every weekday at 11 am. Edmonton time) she packs a whole bunch of information into just 1/2 hour…and gives ALL the measurements for the recipes…something I found lacking or sporadic in many cooking shows. So glad you made friends with her and Michael at CIN. (I so do miss cooking shows on TV…not having cable or a satellite dish…hence no Food Network or Cooking channel…sigh).

  7. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) on 26 Nov 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Well, I learned something. I have always been putting the bottom of my springform pan in upside down. I thought that was the way it was supposed to be! Do I feel stupid, er, smart.

  8. Kendra on 27 Nov 2013 at 6:54 am #

    Oh My Goodness, that looks sensational! I’m looking forward to trying this out, Thanks.

  9. AM on 28 Nov 2013 at 6:41 am #

    I am just wondering if you are cutting this cheesecake into squares, would it be easier to bake it in a 9×13? If you did bake it in this, what would you recommend for cooking times?

  10. margo on 28 Nov 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    AM ~ here’s how my math brain thinks in response to your question about baking it in a 9 X 13 pan. The area of a 9 inch springform is (if I did my math right) about 65 square inches. The area of a 9 by 13 is 117 square inches, so your cheesecake would be significantly thinner in the 9 by 13 and bake differently. Since cheesecake is so finicky I would try to use a square / rectangular pan with a similar area to the springform, ie. an 8 X 8 or a 9 X 9 inch or even an 11 by 7 inch. Then it should cook at a similar rate as in the 9″ springform.
    I’ve never done it, but I would think you’d want the same thickness.
    Good question though, because those little squares look so great and it would be easier to serve.

  11. AM on 29 Nov 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Thanks Margo. I appreciate your ideas :) I am going to try this this weekend.

  12. margo on 30 Nov 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    AM ~ if you happen to look back here, let me know how it turned out! I’d be very interested in preparing it in a rectangular pan too over the Christmas season.

  13. CathyH on 01 Dec 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was, hands down, the BEST cheesecake I have ever made!!! Delicious!
    Thank you Julie and thank you Anna.

  14. phytolacca acinosa on 24 Jun 2014 at 9:27 pm #

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    The taste of the herbal plant is strong, which promotes saliva production for proper food
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  15. Bonnie on 23 Dec 2014 at 6:54 am #

    Just wondering. Can we omit the corn starch for it to be creamier and bake in a water bath? Thinking of making this tonight!

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