I love cheesecake, both the eating and the making of it. You can use so many different flavours, from the crust to the topping. With this one, I wanted to make something festive to bring to a holiday gathering, and both pomegranate and mandarin fit the bill for festive. The two fruits complement each other beautifully, too.
The pomegranate is one of the stars of the holiday season. The translucent jeweled seeds and crimson juice just look like a celebration, don't they? It's no surprise that the season for pomegranates runs from October through February. These versatile fruits add a sweetly tart touch to all kinds of sweet and savory dishes, like this Spiced Baked Salmon with Pomegranate Raita, or Farro, Pomegranate, & Belgium Endive Salad.
And the mandarin orange is, to me, a symbol of Christmas. We can get mandarins in our stores all year here in Canada now. But when I was growing up, the mandarins only showed up at Christmas, from Japan, in little wooden crates, each one wrapped in green paper. (I know, I'm dating myself). The arrival of the “Japanese oranges” in stores each November was exciting and they were a very special treat that signified the beginning of the Christmas season.
There can be some confusion about what exactly is a mandarin orange. Is it a tangerine? I found a perfect explanation on The Spruce: What Are Mandarin Oranges?
This simple cheesecake has a firm, but creamy filling on a graham crust. The topping is a mixture of pomegranate and orange juice, along with mandarin orange segments and those little ruby pomegranate seed gems.
This cheesecake is versatile, because the firm center makes it easy to cut into squares and serve on a dessert tray like a square. I took this cake along with me whole, so I wasn't able to take photos of the cut squares. Which almost caused me not to do this post. In the end though, I had to share it with you. Why should you miss out on a great recipe because of my neglectful photo taking?
So, you'll just have to imagine what the creamy center looks like.. I love the look of this dessert intact, though. The glossy red-orange topping is so pretty and the pomegranate seeds and mandarin wedges look perfectly festive.
And, if you are looking for more mandarin recipes, check out this fresh Salmon, Spinach, Mandarin Orange Salad.
Cheesecake should be stored in the fridge, where it will keep for up to one week. You can also freeze.
- 1.5 cups graham wafer crumbs
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp pomegranate juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 2 tbsp liquid honey
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 mandarin orange, peeled and divided into segments
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a bowl, combine graham crumbs with melted butter.
- Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a non stick, 9 inch square baking pan
- Bake for 8 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool
- Using a mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth
- Add egg, pomegranate juice, and vanilla, and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute
- Add flour and beat until combined.
- Pour mixture onto graham crust, spreading evenly
- Bake in center of oven for 20 minutes
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely
- Meanwhile, whisk together orange and pomegranate juice with honey in a small saucepan
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat
- Combine cornstarch with 2 tbsp water and whisk into the simmering juice mixture, whisking until smooth and thickened
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
- Top cooled cake with mandarin slices
- Pour topping over cake, spreading evenly by tipping the pan
- Scatter pomegranate seeds over cake.
- Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate 1-2 hours until topping is set.
- To serve, transfer cake from pan to a cutting board and cut into squares
This recipe uses the juice and seeds of one pomegranate. If your pomegranate doesn't yield the 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp required, make up the difference in the topping with orange juice.