Cheesecake with Pomegranate Sauce
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for buttering the pan
- 12 graham crackers
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap 3 layers of foil around the outside of a 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Butter the pan.
- Combine the graham crackers, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press the crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake just until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- For the filling: In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream and mix until smooth, about 35 seconds. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.
- Set the cheesecake in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to the baking pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake until almost set (the center will move slightly when the pan is gently shaken) but not puffed, about 1 hour. Let cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cooled, preferably overnight or for at least 6 hours.
- For the pomegranate sauce: Combine the pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan and cook over high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Add the pomegranate seeds and mix to combine.
- Pour the pomegranate sauce on top of the cooled cheesecake and serve.
Double-Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
- 1 ½ cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 32 cookies)
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
- ⅓ cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup whipping cream
- 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 bag (12 oz) soft peppermint sticks, coarsely crushed
- Store-bought peppermint bark
- Heat oven to 350°F. Wrap outside bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan with heavy-duty foil to prevent leaking. Spray inside bottom and side of pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix crust ingredients. Press firmly in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Cool crust 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add condensed milk, beating just until blended. Add 1/3 cup whipping cream, the flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended. Pour over crust.
- Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes or until the edge of the cheesecake is set at least 2 inches from the edge of the pan but the center of the cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved. Turn oven off; open oven door at least 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in oven 30 minutes. Run small metal spatula around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on cooling rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Run a small metal spatula around the edge of the cheesecake; carefully remove foil and side of pan. Place cheesecake on serving plate. In a medium microwavable bowl, microwave 3/4 cup whipping cream on High 1 minute or until hot. Add chocolate chips; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour ganache over cheesecake; smooth ganache with spatula. Let stand 10 minutes. Gently press crushed peppermint sticks into the side of the cheesecake. Cover; refrigerate any remaining cheesecake. Garnish with peppermint bark, if desired.
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