makes a 9-inch cheesecake
Instead of strawberries or raspberries, let the mildly acidic and sweet pomegranate turn your next cheesecake pink; its tartness does a great job of cutting the richness of the cheesecake.
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
Non-stick baking spray
2 pounds cream cheese or neûfchatel cheese, softened (4 8-ounce packages)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-5 drops red food coloring
1/3 cup pomegranate jelly
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
prep: 15 minutes
total: 2 hours
food processor with blade
9-inch Springform pan
stand mixer with flat paddle attachment
1. In the bowl of the food processor with the blade attachment, chop the almonds with the sugar and sea salt to a fine powder. If the graham crackers are not crumbs yet, make them so and then measure out two cups.
2. Process the cracker crumbs with the almond, sugar and salt mixture to combine; drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and process to a damp, sandy texture.
3. Coat the Springform pan with the non-stick baking spray; if the pan is well-greased, then the cheesecake will easily release. Pat the crumbs into the pan to a 1/4 inch-thick layer all over the sides and bottom. Reserve in the refrigerator until the filling is made.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F. In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine the softened cream cheese with the sugar, sea salt and all-purpose flour. Mix on the lowest setting until just combined and smooth.
5. One at a time, add the eggs to the cream cheese, sugar and flour mixture and mix well on the lowest speed. Wait until the egg is incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg.
6. When all the eggs have been incorporated, mix in the heavy cream, pomegranate molasses, vanilla extract and more or less of the food coloring to get the color you like.
7. Pass the cheesecake mixture through a large sieve to even out the consistency. Fill the chilled crust with the mixture.
8. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 250F and cook for a further 1 1/2 hours. The center will still be a bit wet looking and wobbly when the pan is shaken. Remove the cheesecake to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before refrigerating.
9. To serve, melt the pomegranate jelly into the water over low heat in a small saucepan; whisk until liquid and then remove from heat. Let cool to room temper before stirring in the pomegranate seeds. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it before unmolding, decorating with the pomegranate jelly and seed mixture and serve.