I have been wanting to make a cranberry cheesecake for Thanksgiving for a few years now, but recently found this version that not only includes cranberries, but eggnog as well. I absolutely loved the idea, as the flavors are the perfect bridge between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Cranberries tend to only be associated with Thanksgiving, while eggnog is typically reserved for Christmas holiday festivities. Combining the two is totally genius; the result is a dessert that can be enjoyed, and is perfectly seasonal, from November all the way through the new year!
I’ve grown to love both cranberries and eggnog as an adult, and this combination of flavors just flat-out works. The smooth and creamy cheesecake is spiked with a big dose of eggnog, while a mixture of cranberries, cranberry juice and sugar is thickened with cornstarch and swirled into the cheesecake, and then also used for the topping. While you could use regular ol’ graham crackers for the crust, I used cinnamon graham crackers, which I thought was a fantastic complement to both the eggnog and cranberry flavors.
Whether you make this cheesecake for dessert on Thanksgiving or save it for a Christmas celebration, it definitely deserves a place on one of your holiday menus!
For the Cranberry Mixture:
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1½ cups (150 g) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup (253 ml) cranberry juice
For the Crust:
- 1 cup (84 g) graham cracker crumbs, about 8 full sheets of graham crackers
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Cheesecake:
- 32 ounces (907.19 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup (254 ml) eggnog
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- Make the Cranberry Mixture: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in the cranberry juice until smooth, then stir in the cranberries. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a rolling boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat.
- Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Drizzle over the melted butter and toss to combine, ensuring that all of the crumbs are moistened. Turn the crumbs into the prepared pan and press into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
- Make the Cheesecake Filling: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is completely combined and scraping the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the eggnog and vanilla extract and beat until just combined.
- Pour two-thirds of the cheesecake batter into the prepared pan over the crust. Top with half of the cranberry mixture (cover and refrigerate the remaining cranberry mixture). Slowly pour the remaining cheesecake batter into the pan. Return the springform pan to the rimmed baking sheet and bake until the edges are set and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Place the springform pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and cool for an additional 1 hour. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator and chill overnight, at least 8 hours. When ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan and top with the remaining cranberry mixture. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.