Last November, I posted an angry rant about a cheesecake that decided to impersonate the Grand Canyon. I insisted at the time that I can, in fact, make a beautiful cheesecake. I’m setting out here to prove you can too. Don’t worry, I’m not going to suddenly turn into a chef on y’all any more than I’m going to turn into a poet. It’s Christmas time and people like desserts at Christmas time.
Now a good cheesecake recipe involves copious amounts of alcohol, which I promise is not why my rum raisin one split. The first step usually involves making sure that said alcohol is suitable for use, which any good chef knows means testing it for flavor and proof. The recipe I want to share here doesn’t involve any, well not much anyway. Sorry. I have to leave the sampling instructions up to you. You didn’t want this turning into an episode of My Drunk Kitchen anyway. …or maybe you did. I don’t know.
Persimmon Cheesecake with Pomegranate Glaze
This is a very festive dessert that works well for the the holiday season. I first made it last year when I had some persimmons that were getting ripe on me and didn’t know what to do with them. In fact, if you have some fruit just hanging around getting ripe on you, feel free to forget the persimmons and pomegranate and make a some-kind-of-ripe-fruit cheesecake instead. But don’t expect it to look like my picture.
1 pkg Honey Maid grahams, crushed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter
I recommend using fresh crackers and crushing them yourself. The ones that come in the box always taste a little bland to me. Mix the dry ingredients. Melt the butter, stir it in, and mix until it’s an even texture. Butter the sides of a springform pan. I line the bottom of mine with parchment paper first to make the cheesecake easier to transfer later. Press the crumb mixture firmly to the bottom of the pan with a spatula. I don’t bake my crusts separately. You can do whatever you want. Especially if you’re already making a some-kind-of-ripe-fruit cheesecake.
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
24 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
2 large grade AA eggs
1/2 pint whipping cream (not heavy)
2-3 oz vodka
Peel and dice the two persimmons into irregular pieces and place in a saucepan. Add the lemon juice, cinnamon and about 1/4 cup of the sugar. Mash with a potato masher until just enough juice is released to fill the gaps between the fruit. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the fruit softens. Remove from heat.
Mix the cream cheese, vanilla, lemon zest, and the rest of the sugar until smooth. If you use a hand mixer it’s a good idea to soften your cream cheese a little first. I forget to do this a lot, kind of like I forgot to mention it in order here. I buy a lot of hand mixers. Add the eggs, mix until smooth. Add about half of the cream and mix until smooth.
Move a cup and a half of the batter into a separate bowl. Fold in whipping cream until the mixture is pretty thin. I usually still have a little cream left over, which goes really good with Kahlua and vodka, but that’s a different recipe. Fold in the vodka until the mixture is thin enough to pour. The vodka will all cook out, I promise.
Fold the persimmon into the remaining batter and spread it evenly over the crust. Pour the thinned batter into a thin even layer over the top. I’ve found that this little trick will keep the most finicky cheesecake from splitting without needing a water bath.
Bake at 250 degrees F for 75 minutes. No, I’m not kidding. If you think about it, this is similar to the temperature you would achieve with a water bath.
Allow the cake to cool gradually in the oven before removing it. Once it gets close to room temperature you can refrigerate it until it is thoroughly chilled. Overnight is a good plan.
2 large pomegranates
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
Peel the pomegranates under cold water to keep your hands from staining. Set aside a few of the kernels for decoration. Crush the rest of the kernels and extract the juice with a sieve. Add the sugar, and bring to a boil, thin the corn starch with a little water, add it to the juice and continue to boil until the mixture begins to thicken. Pour the glaze quickly and evenly over the chilled cake. Sprinkle with the pomegranate kernels.
© 2011 Anne Schilde
You are obviously free to try this recipe and to share the ingredients if you like it.