Cranberry Shortbread Cheesecake

This Cranberry Shortbread Cheesecake might be almost too beautiful to eat… almost. Featuring vanilla shortbread from Mrs. MacGregor’s, a delicious and local cranberry sauce and candied cranberries, this cheesecake wont last on the dinner table for long.


Cake Base

2 packages (2 x 180g) Mrs. MacGregor’s Shortbreads
2 tbsp Melted butter


4 blocks (4 x 8oz) cream cheese  Cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups Sugar
2 Tbsp Vanilla extract
5 large  Eggs, at room temperature
pinch Salt
1/4 cup Heavy cream


3 cups Cranberries, fresh and whole
2 cups Water
1 cup Sugar

Candied Berries

1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Cranberries
1/3 cup Sugar


Preparation time: 2 hours active, 6-8 hours passive
Serves: 10-12

Cake Base

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (with the rack towards the bottom 1/3 of the oven).
  2. Place the shortbread cookies in a blender or food processor and turn to a fine powder or crumble.
  3. Scoop the shortbread crumble into a medium sized bowl. Add butter and mix well.
  4. Spoon the cake base mixture into a greased spring form pan.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly over the base, then pack down tight either using your hands or the bottom of a flat tool (measuring cup or spatula).
  6. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar, salt, vanilla and cream cheese.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and mix well with hand mixer or stand mixer.
  3. Add heavy cream to the bowl and mix again until smooth.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Wrap the spring form pan in aluminum foil, so there are no seams down the sides – otherwise water will leak in through the bottom of the pan.
  6. Fill the roasting pan halfway with water.
  7. Fill the spring form up to the edge with cake mix.
  8. Place the spring form in the water, carefully. Place in the oven.
  9. Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the centre has set.
  10. Once the cheesecake is set let it cool in the oven gradually to prevent cracking.
  11. Turn off the oven and leave the cake in it for 20 minutes with the door slightly ajar.
  12. Once the oven has cooled take the cake out and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, until cool to the touch.
  13. Transfer to the fridge, and let cool and set for 6-8 hours.
  14. Ideally refrigerate overnight.

Candied berries

  1. Simmer 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat on the stove until sugar is dilute and mixture thickens.
  2. Let cool completely, then dump the cranberries into the simple syrup.
  3. Place the coated cranberries on either wax paper or a cooling rack over wax paper, separate them and let them dry for 30 minutes or until they are sticky but not wet to the touch.
  4. Place 1/3 cup dry sugar in a pan, and toss the cranberries in the sugar.

Cranberry Sauce

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients for the sauce and stir.
  2. Place over medium heat.
  3. Let simmer for 10 minutes stirring frequently.
  4. The mixture should reduce enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove from heat and pass through a fire sieve, pushing it through with a wooden spoon, until there in only pulp and skin left in the sieve.
  6. Taste the sauce and add sugar if needed. Set aside to cool.

Final Touch

When you are ready to serve, spoon the cranberry sauce onto the cake and put a pile of the candies berries in the middle. Serve chilled.


Local Source Guide:

Cranberries: Noggins Corner Farm Market, Stirling Fruit Farms Ltd., Masstown Market or one of the many other Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia.

Shortbread: Mrs. MacGregor’s Shortbreads 

Recipe and Photography provided by: Jessica Emin, @eatwithjessie

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