Ruby-like arils of the exotic pomegranate flavour this cheesecake.
Ruby-like arils of the exotic pomegranate flavour this cheesecake.

Try out this jewel of a cheesecake recipe

THE exotic pomegranate is in season now. Originally from Persia (Iran), it's becoming more mainstream here in Australia. The interior of the fruit is made up of several white, pithy chambers that contain the gorgeous, jewel-like pulp, called arils.

Pomegranates are full of vitamins C and B5.

Pomegranate and banana cheesecake

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS: 250g plain biscuits (Milk Arrowroot or Marie) or 125g plain biscuits and 125g plain chocolate biscuits 100g unsalted butter, melted 2 ripe pomegranates 2 ripe bananas 750g full-fat cream cheese at room temperature 3/4 cup white sugar 5 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla essence pinch salt

METHOD: Preheat oven to 180C. Grease base and sides of a 23cm springform cake pan. Crush biscuits in a food processor or use a rolling pin and plastic bag. Add butter and mix until combined. Press base mixture into the sides and base of the cake pan, pressing firmly with a spoon. Refrigerate until needed.

Cut the pomegranates in half; juice three of the halves by spooning out pulp (hold over a small bowl to catch juice and arils), then press through a sieve or strainer. You can also use a citrus reamer. Carefully remove arils from the fourth half and set aside; you may want to use food-grade disposable gloves for this task.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar and salt on low speed in a mixer, then cream together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Mash the bananas and add to the cream cheese mixture, along with the pomegranate juice and vanilla essence. Mix on medium until smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan and place in the oven. Bake for about 60-70 minutes, depending on your oven; it should brown lightly on the top and not wobble in the centre. Cool for 30 minutes then cover and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours.

To serve: Gently run a knife around the inside of the cake pan, then unlock and remove the side. Scatter pomegranate seeds over the top of the cheesecake and cut into wedges.

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