Instant Pot: Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Thank goodness for cheesecake. It's been the dessert that is perfect for special occasions, is versatile to make into a variety of flavors and above all, it's super easy to make into a gluten free indulgence. For Thanksgiving, I've made this Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake. The creamy cheesecake filling is decoratively swirled with a homemade wild cranberry sauce, garnished with whipped cream and a little more cranberries. This is an elegant way to sweeten up any holiday meal!...

Growing up, one of the first desserts I've ever made for my family was a cheesecake. It's my dad's favorite dessert and one my mom enjoys because it's not particularly too sweet. The very first recipe I tried was one from a little paperback cheesecake recipe booklet I bought for $1. It highlighted recipes using Borden/Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. My family loved my first cheesecake and often request it on special occasions. It's the one cheesecake recipe that I love using time and time again after all these years. First off, it's easy. If I had success with it as a teenager, anyone can make a cheesecake! Secondly, it's a great base recipe that you can play with by incorporating other flavors and ingredients. And third, it's amazingly delicious... a truly fail-proof recipe.

For the crust, you can make a traditional graham cracker crust. I used gluten free graham crackers - if you're gluten free and come across these, snag them and an extra one too! They make for a great pantry staple for those who are gluten free. Prepare the crust in the bottom of a springform pan.

The filling is where the magic happens. A couple bricks of cream cheese, a few whole eggs, a little freshly squeezed lemon juice and a can of sweetened condensed milk are blended together. The mixture is poured into the springform pan on top of the prepared crust.

At this point, here's where you can play a bit. I took leftover homemade wild cranberry sauce and swirled a few spoonfuls on top of the cheesecake filling. Using a knife, swirl the sauce in to get a little bit of cranberry sauce into every bite! Aside from cranberry sauce, use whatever you'd like - jams, pie fillings, baking chips, etc. The possibilities are endless...

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake
adapted from Borden/Eagle Brand

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup cranberry sauce (homemade works best)

garnish: (optional)
whipped cream
more cranberry sauce

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place

Add 1 cup water.

Place trivet into the IP with a foil sling on each trivet handle. This allows for easily lifting the cheesecake from the IP when finished cooking.

In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Transfer crust mixture into the bottom of the springform pan, Press crumbs on the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.

In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese and condensed milk thoroughly. Add each egg one at a time, mixing for only a few seconds in between each addition. Lastly add the lemon juice and mix in. Transfer cheesecake mixture to the prepared springform pan, filling up to almost the top, leaving about 1/2 inch from the top of the pan - you most likely will have some leftover batter.

Add teaspoon sized dollops of cranberry sauce on the cheesecake. Using a tip of a knife, swirl the cranberry sauce randomly into the cheesecake.

Carefully place cheesecake onto the trivet set inside the IP.

Cover the cheesecake with a silicone lid or with a piece of paper towel and a piece of foil. These will prevent water from getting on top of the cheesecake. If some water does get on top, no worries as it will not negatively affect the end result.

Check that it is plugged in, secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to sealing.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 35 minutes on HIGH pressure if using a 6" springform pan, or 37 minutes on HIGH pressure if using a 7" springform pan.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 35 or 37 (the number of minutes you initially set ) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 35 or 37 minutes (depending on the size of your springform pan), allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes if using a 6" springform pan or 17 minutes if using a 7" springform pan. While naturally releasing pressure, the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP for this and allow for several minutes to do so. When the display reflects 15 or 17 minutes since the IP has beeped, turn the setting on top of your IP to venting. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure. I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP and carefully remove the trivet with cheesecake using the foil sling. Set on the counter to rest. Do not remove cheesecake from springform pan. The cheesecake should be slightly loose and jiggle in the middle.

Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for 1 hour while still in springform pan and then transfer cheesecake covered in foil, into the fridge to chill overnight. As the cheesecake cools, it will naturally pull from the sides of the springform pan, making it easy to remove just before serving.

To serve, slice and garnish with cranberry sauce if desired.