Culinary Content Network blogger Desserts Required writes, "I think my friend's email summed up my Cranberry Cheesecake when he wrote in the subject line, 'Berry INSANE Cheesecake' and the only message written was, '...'nough said!!!'" Use this recipe for Thanksgiving, or for all those delectable leftovers. (And don't forget that now's the time to practice, you want it to be perfect for the big day.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Set aside a 10-inch cake pan.
Combine the graham crackers, pecan pieces, and sugar in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until it has a fine crumb consistency. Add the melted butter and pulse on/off until well blended. Grease a 10-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Transfer the crust mixture to the pan and pat evenly onto the bottom and up ¾-inch of the side. Set aside.
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy using an electric mixer, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down as needed. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix until smooth. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract.
Pour the filling into the pan and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Then, wrap a 12-inch cardboard round with plastic wrap and set aside. Place the cheesecake pan in a baking or roasting pan that is large enough to fit the cheesecake pan (this may also be done in the kitchen sink).
Add very warm water to the larger pan, filling it halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Let sit for 20 seconds. Transfer the cheesecake pan to a dish towel and dry off the water. Immediately place the wrapped cardboard round on the top of the cheesecake pan.
Invert the cheesecake, and while holding the cardboard round and the cheesecake pan tightly, firmly rap the cheesecake upside down onto a countertop. Carefully lift the cheesecake pan off the cheesecake. Place the serving plate onto the crust of the cheesecake and turn the cheesecake over, holding onto the cardboard round as you do this. Remove the cardboard round.
Place the cranberries, brown sugar, and kirsch in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture holds together and the liquid has been cooked out, 13-15 minutes. (After 10-12 minutes, the cranberries should be bubbly and bursting. If there are any stubborn cranberries that are not popping, help them out by mashing them against the side of the pan.) Transfer the cooked topping to a bowl and place waxed paper directly onto the cranberries. Cool completely.
Once the topping is cool, stir it and transfer the cranberries to the top of the cheesecake. Begin in the center of the cheesecake and then spread it out to the edges, leaving a small border. Refrigerate until ready to serve.