When it really comes down to it, I think I got my sweet tooth from my father. One could always find him up to something in the kitchen after a hearty meal—he’d be scavenging for chocolate chip cookie ingredients, digging for treats at the bottom of a bag of baked goodies, or preparing to craft a homemade cheesecake. This last one was my personal favorite, and so I thought it would only be natural if for this Thanksgiving I made a wonderful, exquisite cheesecake of which he would be truly proud.
This decadent dessert is made up of a beautiful blend of cream cheese and Vermont creameries’s delicious mascarpone cheese. It’s ever so smooth and delicate, with an extra added tang from a judicious layer of silky crėme fraîche. Obviously such a treat tastes delicious on it’s own, but I wanted it to have something more, and a garnish of some homemade pomegranate syrup with some fresh seeds did just the trick. With or without this garnish, I promise this cheesecake will satisfy any sweet tooth.
I know that baking a cheesecake at home can at times be a little tricky, so I’ve included a few extra tips after the recipe to ensure that you end up with a smooth, crack-free cheesecake.
Also, thanks to Vermont Creamery for providing me with all the delicious cheese that I needed to make this dreamy dessert. And as always thanks for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread.
I wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
Mascarpone Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup
1 3/4 cups finely crushed chocolate wafers, about 38
5 tablespoons unsalted Vermont Creamery Cultured butter, melted
2, 8 oz packages full fat cream cheese, room temperature
1, 8 oz container mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3 tbs crėme fraîche, room temperature
3/4 cup plus 1 tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
For the pomegranate syrup
2 cups pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the crėme fraîche topping
3/4 cup crėme fraîche
2 tbs powdered sugar
1 heaping cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Equipment: 9" springform pan, parchment paper, 18” wide heavy duty tin foil wrap, standing mixer, large roasting pan, saucepan.
Move oven rack to the lower third position of the oven and heat to 350°F. Lightly grease the sides of the springform pan and line the base with a 9’’ parchment round.
Add the crushed cookie wafers and the melted butter to a medium bowl and mix until the combined. Evenly press the mixture into the springform pan along the bottom and about 1-1 1/2 inches up the sides. Cut a large square of tin foil (about 20’’ x 20’’) and place the springform pan right in the middle. Gently fold the tin foil up the sides of the pan, pressing at the top to secure. Repeat this process one more time in order to create a sturdy, waterproof barrier. Place the springform pan in the oven for 8 minutes; remove and let cool.
Reduce the oven's temperature to 325°F. Add the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, 3 tablespoons crėme fraîche, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps remain, about 3 minutes. On the lowest speed, beat in the eggs one at a time until just incorporated.
Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared crust, then place into the roasting pan. Place the roasting pan on the lowest rack and slowly fill with hot water until it reaches about 1-1 1/2’’ inches up the sides of the springform pan. Close the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the edges are set, but the center is still wobbly.
After 40 minutes turn off the oven and use the handle of a wooden spoon to slightly crack open the oven door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour to finish baking.
Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven and discard the foil. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap or tin foil and place in the refrigerator to cool completely; about 5 hours, preferably over night.
While the cheesecake is chilling prepare the pomegranate syrup. Add 2 cups of pomegranate juice and 2 tablespoons sugar to a saucepan and gently simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until the syrup is slightly thick and has reduced to 2/3 cup. Place the syrup in a airtight container and store in the fridge to cool completely.
Once the cheesecake has properly chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together 3/4 cup crėme fraîche and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar until smooth. Spread the crėme fraîche over the top of the cheesecake, then garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving. Drizzle each slice with bit of pomegranate syrup and enjoy!
Some additional tips
· Make sure all of your ingredients are truly room temperate. This will ensure you get a smooth filling when beating your ingredients together.
· Do not over beat the filling. Over beating the filling incorporates too much air (which is why using the paddle attachment is best) which can cause the cheesecake to puff up when cooking, then shrink and crack once it cools.
· Don’t open the oven while the cheesecake is baking, even when you turn of the off the oven. Cheesecakes are really sensitive to temperature changes, that's why this recipe let's it gently bake for an additional hour with the oven cracked open ever-so slightly.
· Don’t over bake your cheesecake. This is a big one. When you pull your cheesecake out of theoven it should still have a little wobble in the center. That's what you want! You just have to have faith that once it chills properly you'll end us with the dreamiest cheesecake to enjoy this thanksgiving.