Goat Cheese Cake with Wine-Poached Cranberries


Crowned with candied pistachios and draped in tart, glistening cranberry gelée, Claudia Fleming's holiday cheesecake is extra creamy thanks to a combination of tangy goat cheese and marscapone. Be sure to beat in the mascarpone at low speed to preserve its extra-smooth texture. Don’t skip straining the cranberry mixture after adding the gelatin; removing the foam is key to a clear, glossy gelée.

Goat cheese cake with red wine poached cranberries
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 50 mins
8 to 10



  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod (split lengthwise)

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature

  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 12 ounces mascarpone cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), chilled

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature


  • 1 cup (8 ounces) ruby port

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 (2- x 1-inch) lemon peel strips

  • 8 ounces fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (about 2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon cold water

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin


  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon hot water

  • 1 cup raw pistachios

  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar


Make the goat cheese cake

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil; set aside. Scrape and reserve seeds from vanilla bean pod; discard pod. Beat cream cheese, goat cheese, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add mascarpone; beat on low speed until just combined, about 10 seconds. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer batter to prepared springform pan; smooth top using a small offset spatula.

  2. Place springform pan in center of a large roasting pan. Add hot water to roasting pan to come two-thirds up sides of springform pan. Carefully place roasting pan with springform pan in preheated oven. Bake until cake is mostly set but center is still slightly jiggly, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Carefully remove from oven; remove springform pan from roasting pan; place on a wire rack. Let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove foil from springform pan; discard foil. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.

Make the wine-poached cranberries and gelée

  1. Bring wine, granulated sugar, and lemon peel strips to a boil in a small saucepan over medium. Boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and alcohol has cooked off, about 3 minutes. Stir in cranberries; cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries just begin to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool 1 hour. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Remove and discard lemon peel strips. Reserve strained cranberries and cranberry cooking liquid separately; set aside.

  2. Place 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl; sprinkle with gelatin. Stir to combine; let mixture stand until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer reserved cranberry cooking liquid to a small saucepan; cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 3/4 cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture, and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a small bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Using a spoon, skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top. Pour cranberry-gelatin mixture (the gelée) over the chilled goat cheese cake, tilting springform pan to spread gelée in an even layer. Refrigerate, uncovered, until gelée sets, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Meanwhile, make the candied pistachios

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon hot water in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add pistachios; stir to coat. Add turbinado sugar; quickly toss to coat. Spread pistachios in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven until pistachios are lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool completely. Break any clusters into pieces. Set aside until ready to serve.

  2. Dip a small offset spatula in hot water, and run along springform pan edge to loosen the cake and gelée; remove sides of pan. Decorate perimeter of cake with cranberries and pistachios; reserve any remaining cranberries and pistachios for another use.

Make Ahead

Goat cheese cake can be refrigerated up to 2 days before topping with cranberry gelée. Cranberries and pistachios can be made up to 2 days in advance. Topped cake can be refrigerated up to 1 day; garnish with pistachios and cranberries just before serving.

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