Some of you might be aware that while my tastes lean towards the savory, my brother's lean towards the sweet. I cook and he bakes. You should also be aware that as an engineer, he is more exact in his recipes than I am and therefore you will find even calorie calculations included.
Needless to say, I can't wait to try this one when I head home for Thanksgiving!
I, like my sister, am a fan of a good cheesecake. I also like trying things a bit different which is how I ended up at a frosted pomegranate cheesecake. To cut down a bit on the calories and fat, you can leave the frosting off, but the cheesecake will probably be on the sweet side. The dark chocolate cuts the sweetness down and is a good contrast to the pomegranate so I recommend using it. Since this is a bit less healthy than other things posted here, I went ahead and determined the nutritional facts for the cheesecake as prepared by myself.
Nutrition Facts (determined with 80% of frosting used)
Serving Size: 1 large piece (1/12 cheesecake)
Calories from Fat: 358
Total Fat: 41g (63%)
Saturated Fat: 24g (120%)
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 156g (52%)
Sodium: 339mg (14%)
Total Carbohydrate: 60g (20%)
Dietary Fiber: 3g (12%)
Sugars: 43 g
Protein: 10 g
Vitamin A: 20%
Vitamin C: 4%
22 Double Stuf Oreos (2 rows of a package), crushed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 fl oz pomegranate juice, reduced to about 1/2 cup (I used POM Wonderful)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/3 cup 70% cacao chocolate chips, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
A couple notes on the ingredients:
Anywhere between about 15 and 22 Oreos will work for the crust. Using the recommended amount will give a crust about 3/8” thick.
I strongly advise using a food processor to crush the Oreos. This prevents the “Stuf” from separating out.
If you can find it, I highly recommend substituting pomegranate concentrate for the juice that is called for. It will be cheaper, and you won’t need to reduce it. I would use 4 Tbsp concentrate to substitute for the juice. You don’t need to add water to make up for the difference in liquid since the cheesecake batter will be fluid enough without it. Just keep in mind it will likely be done about 5 minutes sooner if water is not added.
Since 70% cacao chocolate chips aren’t in every store, the equivalent to this would be 1 cup bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips and 2 oz unsweetened chocolate.
The chocolate chips will probably melt fine without chopping them, so if you don’t have a food processor to do this it should still work.
To ensure a cheesecake without clumps it is essential to let all of the ingredients come to room temperature before you start. The cream cheese takes a long time to come to room temperature so I would set this out a couple hours before you plan on starting.
To reduce the pomegranate juice:
I debated whether I wanted to reduce the juice by boiling it or freezing it and I decided on freezing to reduce the juice because I was afraid boiling it would ruin the flavor.
Pour the pomegranate juice into a clear plastic bottle with a neck such as an empty and cleaned soda bottle. Loosely cap the bottle and place it in the freezer until the juice is completely frozen. Once frozen, take the bottle out of the freezer and set it up so it can drip into another container. You will want to stop the process once most of the ice is a very light color. I don’t remember exactly how long the drip melting process took, but I think it was around 2-3 hours the first time. Do not try to speed the process up by heating the bottle. This will cause both the water and the juice to melt which is not what we want. It took me two times to reduce the juice to about 1/2 cup, and each time the juice was reduced by about half. It is fine if your juice gets reduced more than this, but you do not want any more than that amount. The reason this works is the fruit juice and dissolved sugar has a lower freezing point than the water in the juice, thus it melts faster.
To make the cheesecake:
Line the bottom of a 9” springform pan with parchment paper. It is easiest to just stick a square piece of it on the bottom of the pan before you close it, and let the excess just hang on the outside of the pan. If you do this, then cover the parchment paper on the outside bottom of the pan with aluminum foil so that your oven doesn’t start smoking when you are baking (not that I would know from experience or anything).
Mix the Oreo crumbs with the melted butter and press it into the bottom of the springform pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and mix again until smooth. Add the milk and mix until well blended. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sour cream, flour, reduced pomegranate juice, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour this filling into the prepared springform pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 60-65 minutes. The cheesecake is done when it moves slightly in the center when tapped but does not move around the edges. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door to let the cheesecake cool in the oven. Take the cheesecake out of the oven when it is cool enough to pick up with bare hands (after about 1-2 hours cooling in the oven). This prevents the cheesecake from falling significantly and helps prevent cracking. Since this cheesecake is frosted and cracks won’t be visible, if you don’t have time to leave it in your oven for a couple hours after it bakes you can take it out right when it finishes and let it cool outside the oven. Run a knife around the edges of the springform pan and chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator (still in the springform pan) for at least an hour after it has cooled to room temperature. This will firm it up a bit more to make frosting it easier and will also make removing it from the springform pan easier.
To make the dark chocolate ganache frosting:
I like to have a bit extra frosting when I make it because it is much better to have a little more than I need so I don’t need to start over spreading the frosting because I put it on to thick. I only used about 80% of the frosting on the actual cheesecake, but I would recommend using all of it. I had about a 1/4" thick layer of frosting on the top and very little on the sides, so about 1/4” over all of it plus a boarder on top should use up all the frosting.
Put the chopped chocolate into a mixing bowl. In a heavy saucepan combine the cream and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the mixture into a mixing bowl over the chocolate and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Let it sit covered for 2 minutes to let the chocolate melt. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the sauce is very smooth. It is ok if some of the chocolate is separated. Cool the ganache in the freezer or refrigerator for a few minutes until it is cool. Once cool, whip the ganache with a mixer fitted with whisk attachment until it holds stiff peaks. The ganache will change to a much lighter color when you are whipping it.
Take the cheesecake out of the refrigerator and remove it from the springform pan. Spread the frosting over all of the cheesecake about 1/4” thick. Pipe a boarder around the top to contain the pomegranate arils. Pour all of the pomegranate arils evenly onto the frosting inside the boarder. Let the cheesecake cool for at least another hour to allow the frosting to harden before serving it.