Cut into this fall cheesecake to find a surprising fruit layer on the bottom. Dress it up by pooling sauce on top and garnishing with fresh mint leaves, citrus curls, and sugared cranberries.
Prepare Crust: Preheat oven to 350°. Pulse first 4 ingredients in a food processor until blended. Gradually add cold butter, and pulse after each addition to combine. With processor running, add egg yolk through food chute, and process until combined. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 9-inch springform pan. Chill 10 minutes. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown; cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes.
Prepare Filling: Bring cranberries and next 7 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes or until cranberry skins begin to split and mixture thickens. Let mixture stand 30 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cranberry mixture for sauce. Spread remaining cranberry mixture in prepared crust.
Prepare Cheesecake: Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Beat cream cheese and next 3 ingredients at medium-low speed with an electric mixer in a large bowl just until blended and smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating at low speed just until yolk disappears after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour cream cheese mixture over cranberry mixture, and smooth top of batter to level. Place cheesecake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until center of cheesecake jiggles. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with door closed, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare Sauce: Process 1/4 cup granulated sugar, next 2 ingredients, reserved 1/2 cup cranberry mixture, and 1/4 cup water in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard solids. Cover sauce, and chill until ready to use (up to 1 week).
Remove cheesecake from oven, and gently run a knife around outer edge of cheesecake to loosen from sides of pan. (Do not remove sides.) Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours). Cover and chill 8 to 12 hours. Serve with sauce.
Note: We tested with Grand Marnier orange liqueur.