This cheesecake bar is just full of yum. This is definitely a sweet treat that I will make over and over again during the winter holiday season. I’ve already made it twice and it has disappeared in a flash!
The flavours go so well together. The sweet and fruity taste from the pomegranate, the mild cheese flavour of the cheesecake, and the nutty, salty crunch from the pistachios is just delicious. The vibrant, glossy red sauce, jewel-like arils, and green pistachios are wonderful to look at. In addition, the pistachio-graham cracker crust and pomegranate arils give it a wonderful crunch while the cheesecake layer is smooth and creamy. A lovely juxtaposition of textures!
Now onto the recipe.
Crush graham crackers and pistachios and mix together with melted butter, sugar, and salt. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-9 minutes.
Mix the cheesecake ingredients using an electric mixer. Start with the cream cheese and sugar, then add the vanilla and eggs. Spread it on top of the crust and bake at 325 degrees F for 40 minutes.
In the meantime, under high heat, reduce down pomegranate juice and sugar for 30 minutes. Add the cornstarch and water mixture to thicken the sauce. Let it cool.
Once cheesecake and sauce is cooled, top the cheesecake with the sauce. Sprinkle with pistachio and pomegranate arils.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight before cutting into bars. Enjoy!
Pomegranate Pistachio Cheesecake Bars
Active time: 20 minutes Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes including baking/cooling time Servings: 16-20 bars
For the crust:
- 1 cup (around 14 crackers) ground honey graham crackers, crushed
- ½ cup (70 g) pistachios*, de-shelled and crushed into small pieces
- ¼ cup sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Pinch of salt
For the cheesecake:
- 2 packages (8 oz each) plain cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
For the pomegranate sauce:
- 3 cups pomegranate juice
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup pistachios, crushed into small pieces
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- For the crust. Place the pistachios and graham crackers in a large plastic bag and use the smooth side of a mallet or a rolling pin to crush the pistachios into small pieces**. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and add the remaining crust ingredients then mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
- In a 9 x 13 baking pan lined with parchment paper, pour the crust, and using your fingers, spread the crust evenly across the bottom of the baking pan. Press the crust down firmly. Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes until the crust bakes slightly together.
- Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- For the cheesecake. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then add the vanilla and eggs. It should be smooth and free of lumps. Carefully spread the cheesecake mixture evenly over the top of the crust. Place it back into the oven for 40 minutes. Let it cool for 30 or more minutes.
- For the pomegranate sauce. In the meantime, prepare the pomegranate sauce. Using a small saucepan, under high heat, pour the pomegranate juice and sugar and mix together. Cover with a lid and let it reduce for 30 minutes. It should reduce in volume by almost a half. Reduce the stove temperature to medium-low.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the reduced pomegranate sauce and stir occasionally, allowing the sauce to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely once the sauce is able to stick to a wooden spoon. The sauce will thicken further as it cools.
- Once the cheesecake and sauce is cooled, top the cheesecake with the sauce and finish with pistachio bits and pomegranate arils. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.
- *I bought roasted and salted shelled pistachios, which I manually de-shelled.
- **You can use a food processor instead of crushing it with a mallet, especially if you prefer a finer crust. Personally, I like the slightly larger pieces of pistachios for a textural difference.
- Keep any leftover cheesecake bars refrigerated.