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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blushing POM Holiday Cheesecake

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A few months ago, I was contacted by Ryan from POM Wonderful, asking if I would like to sample some of their pomegranate juice. He didn't have to ask me twice, I was all aboard and anxiously awaited my package of POM juice. After some shipping mishaps, I finally had the box in my possession and I immediately went to POM's website to search for recipes to use my juice in.

This cheesecake was the recipe of choice for precious bottle #1. (Yes, precious! POM Wonderful is fabulous: 100% juice and chock full of antioxidants...and a yummy taste to boot!) The site deemed this recipe a "holiday" cheesecake, likely meaning Christmas or Thanksgiving. I instead opted to make it for our church's picnic over Labor Day weekend. That's a holiday, right?

Holiday or not, this cheesecake is worth making any day. Everything about this cheesecake was perfect, from the creamy texture to the tall cheesecake layer to the sweetened pomegranate topping. Not a fan of pomegranate? Neither was my friend Sara, and she still loved this cheesecake! If you insist on topping with something else, I think another fruity topping would be (nearly) as delicious.

POM recipe #1 was a big success. I can't wait to find more fun ways to use my POM (truth be told, it's also already been used in pomojito's and a variation of the scarlet harlot!). Thanks again Ryan for sending some POM my way!

One Year Ago: Homemade Whole-Wheat Bagels

Blushing POM Holiday Cheesecake
adapted from POM Wonderful Recipes

-2 cups graham cracker crumbs
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 stick butter, melted

-2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
-2 8-oz. packages 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
-1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
-4 large eggs
-3/4 cup milk
-1 tbsp vanilla extract

-1 1/2 cups POM wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
-1/3 cup granulated sugar
-1 tbsp cornstarch

1. To make the crust, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a medium sized bowl. Press into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
2. To make the filling, beat cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt until mixed. Pour over crust and spread evenly with a spatula.
3. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350F and bake for 20-25 minutes, until cake is firm on sides but still jiggling softly in the center. (Do not over-bake!)
4. Cool pan on a wire rack for up to two hours. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving (cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for up to one week).
5. To make the topping, heat juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, stirring and cooking for 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Allow to cool slightly before spreading over cheesecake. (Note: glaze can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, but may need to be microwaved for 30 seconds-1 minute before it is thinned enough to spread on cheesecake)