Christmas Cranberry Creamy Cheesecake

Christmas Cranberry Creamy Cheesecake
  • 540M Total Time

  • 420M Prep Time

  • 15 Ingredients

  • 10 Servings

Shereen Pavlides


Ingredients and Directions



  1. Heat oven to 325 F degrees.

  2. How to make the graham cracker crust: In a large bowl, using a fork, mix graham crackers, shugá (that’s how I say sugar, wink), cinnamon and butter until well combined and moistened. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add prepared graham crackers, pressing evenly and firmly onto the bottom (using a ramekin or the bottom of a glass). Bake until crust is lightly golden, 8 minutes. Remove to cool.

  3. Decrease the oven to 225 F degrees, opening the door to help drop the internal temperature for a few minutes. Check temperature read with an oven thermometer, once 225 degrees F., is reached, close the door. {Note: this is a very important step, to ensure the oven is at the proper temperature, so the cheesecake doesn’t crack}


  • 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter - melted


  1. How to make the cheesecake filling: in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix cream cheese, shugá, sour cream and vanilla extract until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time until blended. Scraping down the sides and bottom cavity of the bowl, re-mixing until smooth.

  2. Pour cream cheese mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust. Bake until set with a slight wiggle in the center, 1 hour 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door ajar to vent, leaving the cheesecake inside for 15 minutes. {This step prepares the cheesecake for room temperature, so it doesn’t crack}.


  • 4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese - room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream - room temperature
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs - room temperature


  1. Meanwhile: Let’s work on the cranberry topping. Stir 1 cup shugá and 1 cup water in a 2-quart pot over high heat until dissolved. Bring to a bubble and cook until slightly syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove to cool. This is for the garnish.

  2. Add 3 1/2 cups (12 ounces) cranberries, 3/4 cup shugá, orange peel, fresh orange juice, cinnamon and salt into a 10” skillet over medium heat and stir until the shugá is dissolved. Bring to a bubble and cook until the berries burst, and the sauce begins to thicken, 8 to 10 minutes. Careful it does not bubble over! You can help it along by bursting the berries with a potato masher or with the back of a spoon. Once it begins to thicken, reduce the heat to medium-low and keep stirring until thickened like a jam for about 2 minutes. Do not let the sauce stick!

  3. Remove the cranberry sauce into the blender (with the orange peel) and blend until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of the cranberry sauce, so it does not form a skin. Once it cools, refrigerate 5 hours overnight.

  4. Toss and coat 2 cups cranberries into the cooled simple syrup. Cover and refrigerate, 5 hours overnight.

  5. Remove the cheesecake to a cooling rack to fully cool at room temperature, about 2 hours. Cover the springform pan with a clean kitchen towel, not touching the cake, tightly fitting under the pan and refrigerate until completely set, 5 hours overnight. (This prevents condensation from forming and dripping onto the cake).

  6. How to decorate the cheesecake: strain the cranberries from the simple syrup into a strainer, reserving the simple syrup. Bottle it up and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It is great to make cocktails or to sweeten iced tea. Add the sticky cranberries onto a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining, 5 to 6 tablespoons granulated shugá all over them and toss to evenly coat.

  7. Run a butter knife around the perimeter of the springform pan and remove the cheesecake to a cake stand or plate. Stir the cranberry sauce until smooth and evenly spread on top of the cheesecake, using an off-set spatula. Re-toss and shake off the excess shugá from the cranberries and top on the cheesecake. You can prepare this up to 1 hour ahead and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Garnish with mint if you’re fancy and then cut into ten slices.


  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp granulated sugar - divided
  • 5 1/2 cups cranberries (about 19 oz) - rinsed, divided
  • 2 to 3 oranges, peel of 1, freshly squeezed (1/2 cup juice)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 fresh mint - to garnish


For a silky-smooth cranberry sauce, after blending, transfer the sauce into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and stir it through, removing any solids and grainy texture.

To ensure food safety, eggs should be cooked until both the yolk and the white are firm. Consuming raw or undercooked eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially for those with certain medical conditions. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use either pasteurized shell eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella, or use pasteurized egg products.

Click here for more food safety information.