It is easy for me to go overboard when consuming holiday desserts. I find it impossible to resist the tray after tray of sugary cookies and chocolate bark candy that are found at my every turn this time of year. After all, these treats only come around once every 11 months, which, in my mind, practically makes it a requirement to sample everything within arms length during this brief period. (I wonder, does eating Christmas cookies in December count as eating seasonally?)
For those of you with more self control than I, here is a holiday dessert that is worth every calorie: Eggnog Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust and Pomegranate Glaze. If you have to pick and choose the sweets you eat this holiday season, do yourself a favor and enjoy a slice of this. I promise, this cake is so good it is definitely worth passing up all of the peppermint bark, snickerdoodles, chocolate crackles, and peanut butter blossoms in sight.
The best part about this cheesecake is that it tastes like the best version of eggnog you have ever had. Sweet, spicy and just a little boozy, it is a truly decadent treat. When I adapted this recipe long ago, I added a gingersnap crust to balance the cakes smooth, creamy texture with a subtle crunch. The pomegranate glaze, inspired by a strawberry syrup I had once been served over cheesecake, gives the eggnog flavor a shot of sweet fruit, almost like a garnish.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 and 3/4 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 32 oz whipped cream cheese, softened
- 16 oz sour cream (full-fat), stirred
- 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
- 5 eggs
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 and 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 and 1/2 tsbp dark rum
- 2 tbsp cognac
- 1 tbsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup POM Wonderful (or any other brand pomegranate juice)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan.
2. For the crust: Prepare the crust by melting the butter and combining it with the gingersnap crumbs and brown sugar in a large bowl. Make sure all of the ingredients are moistened evenly. Press them into the bottom of a springform pan and bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is nicely toasted. Set aside to cool.
3. For the cheesecake: In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend cream cheese, butter, and sour cream together until completely smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Next, add cornstarch, sugar, vanilla, rum, cognac, and nutmeg. Beat on high speed until well-blended. With the mixer on low, beat in eggs one at a time, making sure the mixture is very smooth after each addition.
4. Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the cooled gingersnap crust. Preheat oven to 375 ºF. Wrap the pan very tightly with aluminum foil so that it can be placed in a hot water bath. (You are not going for looks here–wrap the aluminum foil as tightly as possible–you don’t want the batter ruined by water seeping in!) Then, fill a deep baking or roasting pan with water until it is at least halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake cheesecake for 60-70 minutes, or until it is set and the top is light brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
5. For the Glaze: Add sugar, cornstarch, pomegranate seedsm and pomegranate juice to a small saucepan. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and starts to get syrupy. Allow to cool to room temperature before drizzling over cool cheesecake to serve.
Kelsey Banfield is the founder of thenaptimechef.com, a food blog for parents who love cooking and eating great food.