Next, in a 9" spring form pan, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 3 tbls of sugar. Stir until the crumbs are coated in butter, about two minutes. With a spoon, pat down the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom and sides of the pan until about 1 1/2" up the sides. Bake on 325 for 10 minutes. Let cool before filling.
Then, in a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese and mix for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until blended.
Next, add one egg at a time, mixing after each egg.
Then, stir in 1 cup of whole cranberries.
Next, pour cream cheese filling into graham cracker crust and bake at 325 for 1 hour to 1 hour and five minutes. Cheesecake is done when a toothpick comes out almost clean. Middle of cheesecake should be firm. You may add a water bath (a pan filled with water on a rack under the cheesecake to help prevent cracking.)
Sour Cream topping (optional)
In a medium mixing bowl, add sour cream and powdered sugar. Mix until well blended (about one minute.) When cheesecake is cool, spread sour cream topping on the cheesecake.
Sugared Cranberries (optional)
First, in a medium saucepan on medium heat, add water and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the simple syrup that forms is clear but, not yet boiling. Let it cool 5-10 minutes.
Next, add the whole cranberries and mix them to coat them in the syrup. Let them sit in the syrup for an hour.
Last, drain the cranberries from the simple syrup and begin rolling them in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Add the sugared cranberries on top of the cheesecake and garnish with lemon zest.
Store this cheesecake covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 6 months.