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Name:Pomegranate Hazelnut Cheesecake Contributor:Steve D.
Description:Pomegranate Hazelnut Cheesecake (Winner WetLeather '05 Cookoff, "Pomegranate" category) Posted:2005-10-23
Key words:animal crackers, Cookoff Category:Desserts
ID:650 Updated:2006-04-02 20:17:58
Ingredients:Hazelnut Cookie Crust:
2 oz hazelnuts (generous 1/3 cup)
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 oz Nabisco Barnum's Animal Crackers
3 Tbsp melted butter

2 lb cream cheese
1-1/4 c granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c heavy cream
8 Tbsp Pomegranate Paste (sauce)

Candy Glaze:
16 oz Pomegranate juice (Pom Wonderful)
1 c sugar
1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
Preparation:The Crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust rack to middle position.

In a food processor, process hazelnuts with sugar until finely ground and mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add Nabisco Animal Crackers, process until mixture is evenly ground. Add melted butter. Mix until evenly moistened.

Transfer mixture to 9" spring-form pan. Using the bottom of a dry glass, press firmly into the pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, approximately 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature.

Wrap outside of the spring-form with two layers of heavy-duty foil.
Prepare a roasting pan with 1" of water.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

The Filling:
Beat cream cheese in bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat on medium speed until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down after each addition. Add heavy cream and pomegranate paste.

Pour batter into the spring-form pan. Set roasting pan on oven rack. Place the foil wrapped pan in the water bath. Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees, leave the oven door ajar until oven temperature reduces. Bake until perimeter of cake is set, but center jiggles when pan is tapped. Approximately 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Remove spring form pan when cooled. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

The Candy Glaze:
Have on hand:
candy thermometer
bowl of ice water

In a large non-reactive sauce pan, boil pomegranate juice on medium heat until reduced by half. Reduce heat, add sugar and cream of tartar. Stir until dissolved.

Bring up to medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until the mixture reads 234 degrees on the candy thermometer. The mixture should be at the "soft ball" stage when tested in the ice water.

Remove from heat, continue stirring until the mixture has cooled and thickened. Pour the cooled mixture over the chilled cheesecake.

Notes:Comment by Scott Hooper:

Though I wasn't able to attend the cookoff, a little goddess brought me a tiny sliver of your cake.

Do you do weddings?

Awesome desert.

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