Sarah Osborn Blue, executive pastry chef for James Beard Award winner Gerard Craft's Niche Food Group, oversees distinct pastry programs at Sardella, Pastaria, and Taste. She has become well-known for her desserts, including special cakes, cookies, and more during the holiday season.

This year, Chef Blue is taking on an old-school dessert by giving the traditional cheesecake several unique twists for Thanksgiving and the holidays. In addition to her extraordinary Ricotta Cheesecake with Mulled Wine Sauce and Eggnog Cheesecake, she is going beyond your grandma's recipe with a Chai Cheesecake with Cranberry Compote.

Here is Chef Blue's recipe for Chai Cheesecake with Cranberry Compote:

Chai Cheesecake

(1 8-inch cheesecake)


  • 1 cup + 3 Tablespoons graham cracker crumb
  • 2 ¼ Tablespoons milk powder
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons butter
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons cream

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Spray a cheesecake pan with pan spray and set aside.

In a bowl, stir the graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt in a bowl together.

In a pot melt the butter and cream.

Pour the butter cream mixture over the graham cracker mixture. Stir until everything is combined.

Pour the crumb into the cheesecake pan, and press down into an even layer.

Bake for 8 minutes, and let cool while making filling.

Chai Spice Blend

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon ground allspice
  • 2 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground clove
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger

Sift all together into a bowl, and keep with your spices.

Chai Cheesecake

  • 28 ounces cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chai spice blend

Preheat oven to 300°F.

In a stand mixer on high with a paddle attachment cream the cream cheese until completely smooth. Scrape down the bowl, and the paddle multiple times during this process to ensure that you have no lumps in the cream cheese

In a separate bowl combine the sugar and the chai spice blend. This ensures that the spices with distribute evenly throughout the cheesecake and not clump.

Turn the mixer down to low speed, and add the sugar spice mixture. Allow the sugar to completely combine with the cream cheese, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix for another 30 seconds.

Add the eggs one at a time, and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl in between each addition.

Finally add the salt, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again, and mix for a final 30 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared cheesecake pan with the crust baked and ready to go.

Wrap the bottom of the cheesecake pan first in plastic wrap, and then in foil over that to prevent the water bath from leaking.

Place the wrapped cheesecake pan into a roasting pan, and fill the roasting pan half was with water.

Bake cheesecake in the water bath for 40 – 50 minutes. When you shake the cheesecake pan it should not jiggle.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Allow to cool in a refrigerator overnight, or at least 4 hours.

Cranberry Compote

  • 12 oz. cranberries
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup sugar

Combine the cranberries, zest, orange juice, and sugar in a pot.

On medium low heat bring all this to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Allow to boil for 5-8 minutes, the cranberries should be broken down.

Pour into a heat safe bowl, and let the cranberry compote completely cool before topping the cheesecake.