Cranberry Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

While I love all things cranberry over the holidays, this Cranberry Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust has to be one of my favorite and festive desserts.

I’ve been wanting to feature a recipe from Public Television Chef and Host Christy Rost. Christy’s expertise in celebrating home and family was featured nationwide in the fall of 2009 on PBS and CREATE TV stations with her one-hour Holiday production for American Public Television, A Home for Christy Rost: Thanksgiving, centered around her stunning 1898 mountain home, “Swan’s Nest” in Breckenridge, Colorado.

This highly-anticipated show served as an introduction to Christy’s forthcoming national television series, At Home with Christy Rost, which is currently in pre-production. I met Christy when I attended the Snowmass Culinary and Arts Festival this past summer and I’m delighted we’ve finally connected and she can be my inspiration for this gorgeous dessert!

I admit…I took some liberties with this recipe (we’re still friends though, right Christy?), partially out of circumstance and partially from my own desire to effect a change; I think I’ve ended up with a cranberry cheesecake that is the essence of Christy but with my own spin in a couple of ways.

I love this Cranberry Orange Layer Cake and typically make it for Christmas so decided to use that topping instead of swirling a cranberry simple syrup into the cheesecake base. I also substituted gingersnaps for the graham cracker crumbs because I had them on hand but use whichever one is most convenient for you. If you have graham crackers? Use them.

For Christmas 2011, Chef Rost designed a tablescape that transports everyone to the sparkling magic of a beautiful snowfall that, like the actual event in nature, manages to slow everyone down to delight in the wonderful, glowing combination of joy, peace and beauty.

Similar to the tradition of stockings filled during the night by Santa, the Christmas Morning table can be set before the family awakens to surprise everyone with even more Christmas fun. Assembling the decorative elements in advance makes it possible to decorate the table in minutes. Gorgeous isn’t it?

PIN IT! ‘Cranberry Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust’

Cranberry Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust Served on a White China Plate

Cranberry Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust Served on Decorated Chine Plates
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5 from 6 votes

Cranberry Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

A gorgeous holiday dessert with cranberries, gingersnaps and a luscious cream cheese filling.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Servings: 10 -12 Servings
Calories: 459kcal
Author: Creative Culinary

Ingredients

For the Cranberry Topping

  • 1 12- ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated orange peel

For the Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs about 8 crackers (I used gingersnaps; they were what I had on hand and they were great with the cranberry topping)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cranberries

For the Filling

  • 3 8- ounce packages softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • For the Cranberry Topping
  • Combine cranberries and sugar in processor. Using on/off turns, coarsely chop cranberries.
  • Transfer mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Add 1 cup water and orange peel and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture is reduced to 2 1/3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Cool to room temperature.
  • Cover; chill overnight or up to 2 days (mixture will thicken).
  • For the Gingersnap Cookie Crust (Or use graham crackers in lieu of cookies)
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Process cookies in a food processor or blender to yield 1 1/4 cups crumbs.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together cookie or graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and chopped cranberries until crumbs are moist. Press mixture into bottom of a springform pan. Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
  • For the Cheesecake
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In large bowl of an electric mixer, blend cream cheese, sugar, and flour at medium speed until smooth.
  • Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined, but do not overmix. Pour mixture into prepared springform pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake 25 to 35 additional minutes until center of cheesecake is set, but still soft.
  • Turn off oven, open oven door, and cool cheesecake in oven about 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven, cool 1 hour on a wire rack, and run a sharp knife around edge of cheesecake. Release outer band of springform pan and remove.
  • Transfer cheesecake to a serving plate. Cover loosely and refrigerate several hours or overnight. With a metal spatula, gently loosen and transfer chilled cheesecake from bottom of springform pan directly onto serving plate, if desired.
  • Dollop cooled cranberry topping over top of cake and smooth to edges. Garnish with whole fresh or candied cranberries.

Nutrition

Serving: 1grams | Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 258mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 41g

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38 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this delightful recipe! I’ve used this three years in a row now, and I return every holiday season to make this not only for my family at Thanksgiving, but also as a bake sale treat during the Christmas holiday.

    The addition of the cranberries to the crust is phenomenal, and always adds that fun ‘a-ha!’ moment when people bite into it. Regarding the orange peel – I’ve vacillated between using dried orange peel versus the real thing and I’ve not noticed a drastic change in flavor. Sure saves on zesting/peeling time!

    Again, thank you for creating some fun time for me in the kitchen, and for creating some fun holiday memories year after year.

    -Adam-

    1. You made my day Adam! This blog is a labor of love because I want to share my successes in the kitchen. Hearing that something has become a family tradition? I’m in heaven!

      Have a great holiday!

  2. I never post any recipes for high altitude since the blog is read by people from all over so it should have worked fine at sea level. The photo shows the results from when I made it and I followed the recipe from Christy except for the crust. I wish I could give you an answer but I do know this; because of living at high altitude I’ve learned a lot about the science of baking and one of those things is a caution about overbeating; too much air incorporated into something doesn’t guarantee fluffier, it can lead to something falling once it gets in the oven. Still…I’m wondering what made it go flat as a pancake since you obviously aren’t a cheesecake novice. So sorry…it is difficult to discern a problem when I’ve had success in my kitchen. One benefit of living in Colorado I guess? I no longer am embarrassed buy something that doesn’t come out as I expected it…and most often my guests love it even while I’m dying inside! I hope the same was true for you…Barb

    1. Thanks for your comment. I usually use recipes like Maida Heatter or the recipe based on Maida Heatter for amaretto chocolate cheesecake; they come out fine. I use cheesecake hints from this guy (if the link works). I think the cake might have been taller in a smaller cheesecake pan, or if I”d cooled it at room temperature MUCH longer before refrigeration:
      https://leskincaid.com/Cheesecake_Information.html

      1. So hard to say, my cheesecake pan has a diameter of 9″ which is the one I used for the cake in the photo…is yours larger?

  3. I watched your show about Swan House. I am not rich to afford such a big house but I was really amazed at your talent and vision to see what you were able to do with that old rundown house.
    I am new to the cooking. You are an excellent cook and presentor. I am going to try your Cranberry Cheesecase.

  4. I am browsing again on your past recipe and I check the cheese category, and somehow I will find cheesecake recipe from you and as expected I found one gorgeous recipe I am a fan of cheesecake in any flavor toppings…this is really yummy. later I will back again and look for more interesting recipe from you.

    1. I had it on hand for several days and it was fine; just keep covered to keep it from drying out. You can even freeze it if necessary. Feliz Navidad to you too Andrea. We need to meet for a holiday coffee at the VERY least!

    1. Thank you Angela and you hit the nail on the cranberry, cheese and gingersnap head. I love Christmas too!

  5. I think that the gingersnap crust was a perfect substitution for this cheesecake and I think that Christy is still not only your friend but hoping to be invited over for a slice of this. Such a lovely seasonal dessert Barb.

    P.S. Love your Christmas header….it’s probably been on the site for awhile but I’m just noticing it now.

    1. Thanks Rachel. I admit, first time for me was using them for a lemon meringue pie…I was sold. With some flavors they are just a great accompaniment aren’t they?

  6. I love a gingersnap crust. Your cheesecake is divine. The topping is perfection and I can’t get enough of cranberry recipes. So lovely for Christmas and I may have to make this for a party we’re going to:)

    1. YES…but then this type of year my absolute fanaticism about cranberries would have me say yes to adding them to just about anything. Mmm…gingerbread cheesecake though? Perfect.

    1. Thanks Sanjeeta and I think they are so easy to love. Once I got past the horrible canned stuff I’m been a huge devotee.

  7. You photos are always so mouth-watering, and this cranberry topped cheesecake is no exception. You nail every holiday with absolutely perfect recipes for them. I love that gingersnap crust, and the shimmering cranberries look like rubies.

    On another note – my coffee cake wasn’t meant to be ‘gooey’. I accidentally set the timer for 40 minutes instead of 60. By the time I realized it..after it had cooled fully, there was nothing I could do but pretend it was meant to be gooey. Liked it, though..a cheesecake/raspberry pudding center LOL

    1. Thanks Lisa…your comment warmed my heart; very much appreciated.

      Your coffee cake sounded wonderful…and one day soon I’ll post my St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake. So good…takes me back in a moment to being a little girl on Sunday morning!

  8. I feel like I hit the jackpot with this post! Stunning tablescape and two deliciously festive recipes. I have to find that channel and hope that her show will air here 🙂 Thanks for sharing these beautiful tips with us, Barb.

    1. Christy is so delightful and warm and her works shows that. Good luck; she’s a joy if you can find a way to watch her. Happy Holidays Priscilla!

  9. I love getting Christy’s emails with all the details of her holiday preparations too. She really does bring a full spirit to it and all she does. This cheesecake is so perfect for the holidays as are your adaptations perfect for the recipe! Glad you featured Christy. It’s very exciting to see a local chef so committed to Colorado’s bounty and brining it to PBS! Hope you are enjoying the holidays Barb. Lovely post.

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