Cranberry Cheesecake with Toasted Meringue
This cranberry cheesecake with toasted meringue has got to be my new favorite holiday centerpiece bake ever! Not only is it an absolute stunner, but it tastes so so good! Creamy sweetness meets the sharp festive flavors of the cranberry! I always love pairing tangy flavors with sweet bakes. All the flavors balance each other out so perfectly!
It may look impressive, but it’s actually very easy to make! This cheesecake is baked in a 9-inch tart pan and is not a full, super thick cheesecake. This means that it bakes and cools A LOT faster and doesn’t need a water bath to bake! Save this Cranberry Cheesecake with Toasted Meringue recipe for your next holiday gathering!
What You’ll Need
- Blender or food processor
- 9-inch tart pan
- Stand mixer or electric hand held whisk
- Piping bag and tip (I used a medium St. Honore tip for this)
Ingredients for Cranberry Cheesecake with Toasted Meringue
- Fresh or frozen cranberries
- Medium orange
- Graham crackers
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Full fat cream cheese
- All purpose flour
- Sour cream
- Heavy whipping cream
- Pure vanilla extract
Make ahead of time
Cranberry Puree: This cranberry puree does take a couple steps, so I like to prep it the night before. It can be made and chilled in the fridge for up to 4 days before using.
Baked Cheesecake: Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts to make for parties and gatherings. Yes, it always tastes amazing and it’s always such a crowd pleaser. But one of the reasons I love making it is because it can be whipped up way in advance and sit in the fridge before serving! This baked cheesecake can be chilled in the fridge up to 3 days before serving. It could probably go a little longer, but it won’t be its freshest.
*Meringue CANNOT be made ahead of time, unfortunately. I whip up the easy meringue recipe right before torching and serving!
How to make Cranberry Cheesecake with Toasted Meringue
- Make the cranberry puree: Cook the cranberries with orange juice and zest until all the cranberries have burst, mashed, and mixture has thickened. Blend until smooth and then cook again to reduce the water in the puree until it’s reduced to about 2/3 cup amount.
- Make the graham cracker crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter together and press it into and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Bake with it on top of a baking sheet for 10 minutes.
- Make the cheesecake filling: While the crust is baking, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the cranberry puree and flour. Then add egg and yolk until combined. Add sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla. Pour the filling into the warm crust and bake with the baking sheet under it for about 30 minutes until cheesecake is set, but still wobbles slightly in the middle.
- Cool cheesecake: Turn oven off and crack oven door open to let cheesecake cool gradually in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, and then chill in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Make Swiss Meringue: When ready to serve, whip up the Swiss meringue. Whisk egg whites and sugar in a heat safe bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Constantly whisk the mixture until all the sugar has melted (no longer feels grainy when rubbed between fingers) and it’s reached 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and whisk on high until you reach stiff peaks. Pipe or spoon over chilled cheesecake. Torch the meringue with a kitchen torch, garnish, and serve!
Other recipes you might like!
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust and Toasted Meringue
Blood Orange Cheesecake Tart
Strawberry Cheesecake Pie
Creamy, sweet, and tart flavors do a wonderful balancing act in this beautiful cheesecake tart, perfect for all your holiday gatherings!
- 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- zest and juice of one medium orange
Graham Cracker Crust
- 12-13 whole graham crackers, crushed to a fine crumb
- 1 tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/3 brick (300g) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (66g) granulated sugar
- cranberry puree from above
- 1 tablespoon (8g) all purpose flour
- 1 large egg + 1 yolk
- 1/4 c (60g) sour cream
- 1/4 c (60g) heavy cream
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites (about 65g)
- 1/2 c (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Make Cranberry Puree
- Place cranberries and orange zest and juice into a medium saucepan over mediun low heat. Cook stirring occasionally until all cranberries have burst, breaking the cranberries as you go. Continue cooking until it thickens and most cranberries are smooshed.
- Remove from heat and scrape into a heat safe bowl to cool slightly.
- Once cool enough to place into a blender or food processor, blend until smooth. It'll be quite thick so stop a few times to scrape down the sides and blend until as smooth as possible.
- Place back into saucepan over low heat to "reduce" it. We're going to cook some of the excess water out of it. Continuously stir while cooking until it is thicker and has been reduced to about 2/3 cup amount. Remove from heat and let cool.
Make Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Mix well until everything is well combined. Place into a 9-inch tart pan and press it into the bottom to compact it. Using your fingers, press the crumbs all the way up the sides of the pan as well.
- Place entire pan on top of a larger baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Make the Cheesecake Filling
- While the crust is baking, make the filling.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar on low medium speed until creamy. Add reduced and slightly cooled cranberry puree and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Mix in flour, and then mix egg and yolk on low until fully incorporated. Mix in sour cream, and then heavy cream and vanilla.
- Pour filling into warm crust. Keeping the tart pan on top of the baking sheet, place the entire thing into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges are mostly set and the center still wobbles slightly when your jiggle the pan.
- Turn oven off and leave oven door cracked open to gradually cool the cheesecake for about 30 minutes in the oven.
- Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before placing in fridge to chill for at least 4 hours.
Make Swiss Meringue
- When ready to serve cheesecake, make the swiss meringue.
- Heat up about 1-2 inches of water in a small or medium saucepan, bring to a low simmer
- Whisk together egg whites and sugar in a heat safe bowl large enough to sit on top of the saucepan without touching the water (use the bowl of the stand mixer is using one). Constantly whisk the egg whites and sugar until it reaches 170°F and the sugar has all melted (you can rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers, when it's all melted, it won't feel grainy).
- Remove from heat and whisk the egg whites on high speed until you reach stiff peaks. Add vanilla and beat for a few seconds until incorporated.
- Place in piping bag fitted with a piping tip and pipe as desired onto the cheesecake. You can also just spoon the meringue onto the center of the cheesecake and swoop and swirl it around with the back of a spoon.
- Toast the meringue with a kitchen torch, garnish with sugared cranberries and crushed pistachios if desired and serve!