The year is 2009. My mother attends a fundraiser and comes home waxing euphoric about the most amazing cheesecake – it’s super rich, triple layered, and the best thing she has ever eaten! The problem is, iPhones have not hit the market yet, and neither has WhatsApp or Instagram. My mother makes many phone calls until she hunts down the owner of the triple layer cheesecake recipe. It’s from the The Heimishe Cookbook, and oh boy, is it a winner. The prized recipe gets photocopied and saved, and made again and again until it becomes famous in our neighborhood. With the passing of each Shavuos, the cheesecakes are devoured by all. One by one, my friends start to get engaged and this cheesecake becomes a staple at each and every bridal shower… and I hope that one day it will be my turn to have a cheesecake at my own shower…
Fast forward to year 2019. I am now married, with two lively children of my own. I have become a recipe developer and food blogger, as well as a 3rd grade teacher, wife and mother. I try to think out of the box when it comes to cooking, and I still have some weight to lose from my last baby. Triple layered cheesecake with heavy graham cracker crusts will not be on my menu this Shavuos! I opt to create a lighter and simpler portion-controlled version of a cheesy treat.
I have developed a relationship with De La Rosa Real Foods and I challenge myself to use their fruity pomegranate vinegar in a dessert. I came up with a creamy pomegranate panna cotta, which is tangy and fruity, yet sweet and smooth. It’s breathtakingly gorgeous, and ready to be shared with all at the touch of a button, without the hassle of photocopying. Whether you enjoy old school or new school, panna cotta or cheesecake, one thing is for certain: when Shavuos comes around, take a moment to reflect on all of the blessings we have in our lives and focus on what really matters. Enjoy and have a great Yom Tov!
Pomegranate Panna Cotta 2019
Yields: 5-6 small ramekins
2 cups organic half and half
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup organic Greek yogurt
½ cup confectionary sugar (Maple syrup or agave nectar can be used as healthier alternatives)
2 tsp kosher gelatin
2 tsp water
¼ cup De La Rosa organic pomegranate vinegar
¼ cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup white sugar or organic coconut sugar
Fresh pomegranate seeds
Warm the half and half, confectionary sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water until softened. Add the gelatin to the saucepan and heat until dissolved.
Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the yogurt.
Pour the mixture into 5 or 6 small ramekins and chill for 4 hours or until set.
In a saucepan, heat the pomegranate vinegar, pomegranate juice and sugar until boiling. Let it reduce on a low flame for 10 minutes until it becomes a syrupy consistency. Drizzle over the panna cotta and serve with fresh pomegranate arils. Enjoy!
*The kosher gelatin can be found on www.Amazon.com.
Triple Layer Cheesecake 2009
6 oz. honey graham crackers, crushed
6 tsp butter, melted
4 8 oz. containers of cream cheese (2 whipped, 2 unwhipped)
1¾ c. sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1 cup of ground filberts or almonds, roasted
2½ oz. milk chocolate, melted
Combine crackers and butter and press into a 10-inch pan.
Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla sugar.
Add eggs one at a time.
Divide evenly into 3 bowls.
To bowl 1, add ground nuts and pour over the crust. Freeze for a half an hour.
To bowl 2, add melted chocolate and pour over the first layer. Freeze for a half hour.
Pour contents of bowl 3 on top.
Place the pan in a water bath to retain moisture. Bake at 350°F for one hour, or until done.
Turn off the oven, and leave the cake inside until cooled. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls.