CRANBERRY FILLING

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, such as Ocean Spray
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

CRUST

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt

CHEESECAKE FILLING

  • 3 pkgs. cream cheese, 8 ounces each, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

  • 2 (4-ounce) bars of good quality white chocolate, such as Ghirardelli
  • 1 (8-ounce) bar cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

SUGARED CRANBERRIES & ROSEMARY SPRIGS (optional)

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 small packet of rosemary sprigs

INSTRUCTIONS

CRANBERRY FILLING

  1. Add the cranberries, sugar, and water to a medium saucepan.  Combine with a spoon and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently,  for about 10 minutes.  The cranberries should pop and the mixture should begin to thicken. Remove from the heat, mix in the vanilla, and cool completely.

WATER BATH PREP

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium and keep the water hot while preparing the cheesecake.
  3. Butter or spray a 9-inch springform pan.  Place a  large piece of heavy foil under the pan, bringing it up to almost the top of the outside of the pan.  This will ensure that no water can seep into the cake pan.
  4. Set aside a roasting pan or any pan that’s at least 2-inches deep and bigger than the springform pan.  I use my 1/2 sheet cake pan.

CRUST

  1. Add graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt to a medium bowl.  Mix with a fork until well combined.  Press the mixture into the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.  I like to use a flat bottomed small measuring cup to do this.  Bake the crust for about 6-7 minutes, just long enough to set the crust.  Spread half of the cranberry filling over the crust and set aside.

CHEESECAKE FILLING

  1. Mixing:  Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer, (or use a hand mixer).  Mix on medium-high speed until the cream cheese is very light and creamy and free of any lumps, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for a few seconds.  Add the eggs and mix on medium speed until incorporated.  Add the sour cream, vanilla, sugar, and flour, and mix until well combined, about 1 minute.  Lastly, add the whipping cream and mix on medium speed just long enough to incorporate.  Spread the filling evenly over the cranberry filling.
  2. Water bath:  Place the water bath pan in the oven.  Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in the water bath pan.  Carefully add the hot water to the pan, being careful to not splatter any water into the cheesecake batter. 
  3. Bake:  Bake the cheesecake for approximately 70 minutes, until the cheesecake is still slightly jiggly in the center.  Turn the oven off.   Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven.  Carefully remove the pan of hot water from the oven.  Place the cheesecake back in the oven.  Leave the oven door about halfway open.  Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven until it’s room temperature.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven and remove the foil.  Run a thin sharp knife around the edges of the cheesecake to separate it from the springform pan.  
  4. Cranberry topping:  Spread the remaining topping over the cooled cheesecake.  Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces in a small bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir and microwave for an additional 20 seconds.  Mix until smooth.  If needed, microwave for 10 more seconds.  Set aside.
  2. Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer).  Mix on high speed until the cream cheese is very light and creamy, and free of any lumps.  Add the melted chocolate and mix on medium speed until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy whipping cream on medium speed until it gets slightly thickened.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Whisk on high speed until very thick.  Fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate mousse mixture.  Spread the mousse topping over the chilled cheesecake.  There’s plenty of the mousse mixture.  If you prefer, you can spread half over the cheesecake, and pipe the rest around the edges with a decorating bag. 
  4. Optional:  Decorate the top with sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs, if desired.
  5. Refrigerate covered cheesecake for up to 1 week in a refrigerator.

SUGARED CRANBERRIES & ROSEMARY SPRIGS (optional)

  1. Add the water and 3/4 cups of sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. 
  2. Cranberries:  Stir in the cranberries until completely coated.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to a wire rack.  Allow them to dry for at least one hour. 
  3. Rosemary sprigs:  Dip the rosemary springs in the water/sugar mixture and transfer them to a wire rack for at least one hour.
  4. Working in batches, roll the cranberries, followed by the rosemary sprigs in the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar until well coated.  Allow to dry for at least an hour.