Combine water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a sauce pot, over medium heat. Heat the mixture until sugar is all dissolved, while stirring slowly. Take off heat.
Let the mixture cool a bit before adding cranberries. Add cranberries, stir, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Drain cranberries in a colander.
Add 1/2 cup of sugar to a shallow bowl and coat cranberries is sugar. Set aside until ready to decorate.
Quick Cranberry Jam:
In a sauce pot, over medium heat, combine cranberries, sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well cook cranberries stirring often. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Take off heat and let it cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9 inch springform pan. You will need a large roasting pan that’s bigger and longer than the springform pan. (I use the aluminum foil disposable ones). If you are not sure about your springform holding up in water, you can wrap the outside of the springform pan in heavy duty aluminum foil from bottom up to the sides. (I recommend wrapping the outside of the springform in foil before adding the crust and cheesecake batter.)
Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir very well, until all incorporated. Press graham cracker mixture into the pan, evenly, all over the bottom and about half way up the side.
Spread half of the cranberry jam over the crust.
Start beating cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add vanilla extract, and sour cream. Mix until combined.
Add eggs, one at the time, beating after each addition. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and beat until all incorporated.
Lower speed and add corn starch. While on medium-low speed, pour in heavy cream. Mix until all combined, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again until smooth.
Cut vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds into the cheesecake batter. Mix well until incorporated throughout.
Spoon all of the cheesecake batter into the springform, over the jam.
Place roasting pan into the oven and place the cheesecake springform pan inside the roasting pan. Carefully add water to the roasting pan, about half way up the side of the springform.
Bake for 70-75 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door half way. Let cheesecake rest for about 10 minutes and take it out of the oven (out of the roasting pan and carefully take off the foil).
Let it rest for 20 minutes on the counter and then gently run a greased butter knife between sides of the cheesecakes and the springform to carefully separate it. (You don't actually have to take the cheesecake out of the pan until ready to add topping.)
Cool cheesecake for an hour.
Spread remaining cranberry jam over the top of the cheesecake. Cover the pan with saran wrap and place the cheesecake in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before adding the mousse.
White Chocolate Mousse:
Break up white chocolate bars and melt them according the to package instructions.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes.
Drizzle in melted white chocolate while continuing to beat cream cheese. Mix well.
Fold in whipped topping gently until all combined.
Spread white chocolate mousse over the top of the cheesecake. You can separate the mousse in two batches and use one batch to decorate with a frosting tip.
If using candied cranberries, spread them on top of the white chocolate mousse.