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Yummy Recipes and Cozy Mysteries by Peggy Ehrhart


Chocolate-Orange Cheesecake Pie

Yummy recipes are a big part of the world inhabited by the Knit & Nibble knitting club of Arborville, New Jersey, featured in my Knit & Nibble cozy mystery series. The club meets once a week and the member hosting the meeting serves coffee and dessert, usually homemade. Holidays also present an opportunity for baking and feasting.

In DEATH BY CHRISTMAS SCARF, my amateur sleuth Pamela Paterson, founder and mainstay of the knitting club, bakes a special cake as her contribution to the festive Christmas dinner hosted by her best friends, Wilfred and Bettina Fraser. It’s an orange-flavored yellow cake with vanilla cream filling and chocolate buttercream frosting.

I think of Christmas and oranges as going together, perhaps because in earlier times oranges were one of the few fresh fruits available in the winter, though even they would be imported from sunnier climes unless one lived in California or Florida. My husband, who grew up in Illinois, recalls that Christmas always brought a box of oranges from Florida, a gift from his grandfather who lived there in his retirement.

Since the recipe for Pamela’s special cake is included at the end of DEATH BY CHRISTMAS SCARF, I thought it would be fun to invent another recipe that uses the oranges and chocolate combo. In this case, those ingredients are combined with a rich cheesecake.



Ready-made chocolate crumb crust

16 oz. cream cheese (2 8-oz. packages), allowed to sit out and soften for an hour or so

2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar, divided

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. vanilla

8 oz. orange marmalade or orange preserves

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream

Semisweet chocolate bar to grate or shave, about 4 oz.




Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until it’s smooth. Beat in 2/3 cup sugar, then the eggs and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Pour or spoon the cream cheese mixture into the crumb crust and spread it evenly. Use a spoon to drop the orange marmalade or preserves here and there on top of the cream cheese mixture. With a table knife, chop them up a bit and partly submerge them, taking care not to push deeply enough to disturb the crumb crust.


Bake the cheesecake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the center is almost set and the edges are slightly brown. Let it cool and then refrigerate it for at least 3 hours.


Shave or grate the chocolate bar.


Pour the cream into a medium-sized bowl. Add the sour cream and 2 tbsp. sugar. Beat on high speed until the mixture holds soft peaks.


Top each slice of the cheesecake pie with a dollop of topping and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings.


Cover and refrigerate leftovers of the cheesecake pie and topping.


Death of a Christmas Card Crafter

It’s time for a homespun holiday - until a crafty culprit weaves murder into the festivities. . .

Slay bells ring when the body of Arborville High School’s beloved art teacher (and annual Christmas card designer), Karma Karling, is discovered on the first day of the Holiday Craft Fair.

Now, Pamela Paterson and the Knit and Nibble crew must swap swatching for sleuthing in order to put a Christmas killer on ice.

Previously published in Christmas Card Murder


Mystery Cozy [Kensington Cozies, On Sale: September 27, 2022, e-Book, ISBN: 9781496741592 / eISBN: 9781496741592]

Buy DEATH OF A CHRISTMAS CARD CRAFTERKindle | | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Peggy Ehrhart

Peggy Ehrhart

Peggy Ehrhart is a former English professor who currently writes the Knit & Nibble mystery series for Kensington. The eighth book in the series, Death of a Knit Wit, appeared in March and her Christmas novella, Death by Christmas Scarf, is included in Kensington’s just-released Christmas Scarf Murder. Her amateur sleuth, Pamela Paterson, is the founder of the Knit & Nibble knitting club, and Peggy herself is a devoted crafter.

Knit & Nibble





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