16ouncescream cheesesoftened or at room temperature
14ouncessweetened condensed milk
¼cupfresh lemon juice
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Mix well. Add ½ cup plus two tablespoons of cold water and the cranberries and place the pan over medium heat. Stir to combine.
Bring the cranberry mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat, and set aside to cool.
Graham Cracker Crust:
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and butter in a large bowl. Mix to combine.
Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a nine-inch springform pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator to chill while you make the cheesecake filling.
Add the cream cheese to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes or until it is smooth, light, and fluffy. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and beat until the mixture is smooth with no lumps.
To assemble, pour the cream cheese mixture into the pie crust. Smooth out with an offset spatula. Top with the cranberry mixture and spread the topping out evenly.
Cover and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least four hours to give the filling time to firm up. Before serving, unhinge the clasp on the springform pan and carefully lift off the sides.
After removing the pan's sides, I recommend leaving it as-is on the pan bottom to serve. Or, if you prefer, you can remove the bottom by carefully sliding the cheesecake onto a serving platter. I left the edges of my graham cracker crust a little shaggy because I liked the rustic look. You can certainly even it up if you prefer to smoothing it out while in the springform pan. You can also place the crust on the bottom only of the pan and not bring it up the sides. To make this recipe ahead, make the crust and cheesecake filling as directed. Make the cranberry filling up to 24 hours ahead and store it tightly covered in the refrigerator. Before serving, add the cranberry topping. Try using crushed gingersnaps or another of your favorite cookies instead of the graham cracker crumbs for a little different crust. You can also use a purchased pre-made deep-dish graham cracker crust. If you substitute salted butter for unsalted, leave out the salt when making the crust.To ensure a lump-free filling, be sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature before adding it to the other ingredients. For two eight-ounce blocks of cream cheese, place the unwrapped cheese on a microwave-safe plate and microwave them on high for 30 seconds. Test to see if they are soft. If not, microwave for additional 10-second increments until it is. If you don't have a springform pan, you can use a deep-dish pie plate or pie pan.