Icebox Treats

Temperatures are rising, so these days, I try my hardest to avoid firing up the oven. But my cravings for baked goods never go away (darn), so that means I try to plan my baking better. If I can, I time my baking for early…

Icebox Treats

Temperatures are rising, so these days, I try my hardest to avoid firing up the oven. But my cravings for baked goods never go away (darn), so that means I try to plan my baking better. If I can, I time my baking for early in the day or coordinate it with weather forecasts. Am I the only one who does this?

We are now in the second week of the POM Wonderful Summer Menu Series, and it is my turn to present you with a dessert. How does cheesecake sound? I am pretty particular with my cheesecakes – I grew up on luxuriously creamy New York cheesecakes, and I have a very high standard when I taste them. I will admit that I still have not found my holy grail recipe for a good classic cheesecake. But I was determined to make a pomegranate cheesecake, and since it is summer, it seemed like a good opportunity to fiddle around with a no-bake recipe.

This is a nearly No-Bake Mini POMegranate Cheesecake, served with POMegranate Syrup and a POMegranate-Kissed Caramel garnish. The best part? It is ridiculously simple to make, can be assembled in advance, and will leave your kitchen nice and cool. Perfect for entertaining.

POMegranate Mini Cheesecake

Are you ready to get started?

To start, you will make a graham cracker crust in a standard muffin pan. This is the nearly no-bake part. I like my crust to have some crunch, so I did pop them in the oven for about 6 minutes. If you wanted a truly no-bake version, you can just pop the crusts in the freezer to chill. I decided to bake them quickly, then put them in the freezer until I was ready for them.

The POMegranate Kissed Caramel garnish is completely optional, but it’s one of those things that is easier than it looks. If you are making this for a party, it adds a little oomph to your presentation!

Finally, the POMegranate Syrup can be made days (even weeks) in advance. This really adds a rich flavor to the mini cheesecakes, a little goes a long way. It also works beautifully on pancakes and waffles and ice cream!

The beauty of this dessert is that you can spread out the preparation over several days, if you wish. Enjoy these adorable cheesecakes, and don’t forget to visit my fellow POM “chefs” Danica’s DailyFitness & Spice and Being Chelsea to check out their recipes for this week’s menu!

POM Summer Series Badge

No-Bake Mini POMegranate Cheesecakes, POMegranate Syrup and POMegranate-Kissed Caramel

Makes about 18 mini cheesecakes or one standard 9-inch cheesecake

For the crust:

You will need 2 standard 12 cup muffin pans. If you opt to make one large cheesecake, you will need one 9-inch spring-form pan.

  • 1½ cups graham crackers (about 10 sheets)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prep your pans by spraying with cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. In a food processor, process graham crackers till fine. Add butter and sugar, and pulse. Place about 1/8 cup into each muffin cup; I used a size 40 ice cream scoop. Press down with your fingers, guiding the crust up the sides of each muffin cup. Try to make the cups uniform thickness (not too thick!). It does not have to reach the tops of the cups.

Bake in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then place pans in the freezer to chill.

For the filling:

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese till creamy, slowly add the condensed milk and beat until incorporated. Add the pomegranate juice and vanilla extract, beat until smooth.

For the POMegranate syrup:

  • 1 (8 oz) bottle of POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
  • 1 cup sugar

Combine the pomegranate juice and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sugar dissolves, and syrup has reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Cool completely. Refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to use.

For the POMegranate Kissed Caramel Garnish

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice

Heat a clean, heavy duty small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add sugar and water, stir briefly just until sugar is dissolved, then allow to simmer (no more stirring!) until the sugar begins to caramelize and change color. When you reach the desired amber color, slowly add the teaspoon of pomegranate juice in two parts. Stir. Carefully pour/drizzle caramel onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat and allow to cool completely. Once it is completely cool and brittle, break off the hardened caramel to desired shapes for garnish.

To Assemble and Serve:

Place about 1/4 cup of filling into each muffin cup and freeze for at least 5 hours. When completely chilled, slide a knife along one edge of the muffin cup and pop the mini cheesecake out of the tray. Place on a serving platter, garnish with a drizzle of POMegranate syrup on the side, and a POMegranate Kissed Caramel garnish, if desired. Enjoy!

{note} If you are serving this on a hot day, keep in mind that it can melt if left to sit for a time. But I can guarantee that these little mini cheesecakes will go quickly, so you probably do not need to worry.

Comments

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  1. Angela L

    Wow. Those pics are beautiful. They look positively chilly thru the page. What a clever girl you are~ so many tasty treats.

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thanks, Angela! I was craving a batch of these over this hot weekend!

      Reply
  2. Jenn [Defunkt Gourmet]

    I can’t believe this is virtually no-bake! Are you pulling my leg???
    Absolutely gorgeous and still shocked that they’re not baked (well..you know what I mean… lol…)
    I’m feeling your love of Pom :)

    Reply
    • Liren

      It really, truly is nearly no bake! Hmm, now I want to make another batch..it’s dreadfully hot here today.

      Reply
  3. She's Cookin'

    These are a work of art! Your photographs are stunning and what a unique use of Pom syrup – thanks for sharing such a delicious, easy, refreshing dessert!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Denise, they do look like little trophies! LOL! Steal away, enjoy the cheesecakes!

      Reply
  4. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    Liren, I’d love to cook with you one day! This is perhaps the most creative use of POM Wonderful that I have seen thus far, the tartness must pair so well with cheese cake. This is so worth turning on the oven!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Aw, wow, I think it would be fun to cook with you one day, too! Wouldn’t it be fun to do cook-meet-ups – wish a whole bunch of us could hire out a pro kitchen and just have a field day!

      Reply
  5. Jean

    Gosh, Liren. These cheesecakes are beautiful (of course). I love cheesecakes too (and sadly lost my favorite recipe). I love the addition of POM syrup. You keep turning out one winner after another! :-)

    Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Jean, thank you! Hope you somehow find that favorite recipe – I’m still looking for a good standard cheesecake one.

      Reply
  6. Kimba

    Oh am gee… I want one! No, I want two! Roarr… I’m hungry again, and as you saw I already had quite a big lunch, lol.

    Reply
    • Liren

      LOL! One is definitely a good portion size, but I am absolutely guilty of eating two in one sitting.

      Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Joy! The garnish is great – I ended up making so much of it, it’s like hard candy :)

      Reply
  7. Donna - Dishy Goodness

    Hi, Liren! Love the photos, as usual, and the almost no-bake aspect of this delicious dessert! Yum! Gorgeous post. :)

    Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Donna! Thank you! It was such a fun dessert to assemble, and really was so nice to not have to make the oven work so hard :)

      Reply
  8. Baking Serendipity

    Your caramel garnish looks great on these! I too have been trying to avoid the oven in an attempt to keep things cooler, and this cheesecake recipe sounds perfect to keep at that goal :) Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thank you! Yes, stay away from the oven in this heat! This will definitely cool you off!

      Reply
  9. Nancy

    ’tis the cheesecake season I guess…I like the notion of no-bake. I baked twice last week and it was hot and miserable! We are big fans of pomegranate so will definitely want to try that syrup…our pomegranate tree has lots of blooms this year so maybe there will be homegrown syrup in our future? Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Oh, to have homegrown pomegranate syrup! You’re quite lucky to have a pomegranate tree – I hope the yield is plentiful this year!

      Reply
  10. Joanna Sutter

    You impress me. I am all about no-baking this Summer! I sweat at the very thought of turning on my oven.

    Thanks for (ANOTHER) great recipe!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Aw, thank you Joanna! If I could bake on the outdoor grill (actually, I probably could)…I might bake more! But this is definitely nice and refreshing :)

      Reply
  11. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Everyone’s killing me with their cheesecake recipes. It is my favorite food in the whole wide world… seriously, I can’t get enough. These pictures are stunning and am totally going to make these (caramel topping and all).

    Reply
    • Liren

      I hope you do make them – they’re so perfect for the hot weather you’re having in the Northeast (I do not miss the heat and the humidity out there, I have to admit!). But isn’t it funny how all the cheesecakes have emerged on the blogosphere?

      Reply
  12. Mika

    I love your mini cheesecakes, with that caramel decoration they are absolutely perfect…
    I have to say that as big fun of pomegranate I will make this with a thin pomegranate jelly inside…mmm…
    I’m one of those who don’t stop baking in summer but I’m not clever as you so I don’t plan anything, I follow my baking feelings…

    Reply
    • Liren

      Great idea to put a layer of pomegranate jelly – perhaps between the crust and the filling? Mmm. That would work very nicely!

      Reply
  13. Danica

    I LOVE cheesecake with any type of fruit, but, then, you had to go and add caramel – AMAZING!!!! Delicious & so easy too!

    Fantastic photography ~ seriously this looks like it’s just out of a fancy gourmet magazine or restaraunt :D

    Reply
    • Liren

      Danica, thank you so much for your kind, kind words! I’m glad you like the photos – I try ;)

      Reply
  14. Jun Belen

    Wonderful post. Those are so pretty and from how you described them are very easy to make! Those graham crusts are always delish!!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thanks Jun! They really are so easy to make, it’s almost embarrassing! And I agree – I think the graham crusts might be my favorite part.

      Reply
    • Liren

      Thank you Silvia! I do love small treats like this! Makes it easier to serve..and to eat!

      Reply
    • Liren

      It’s quite similar to your condensed milk ice cream – you’ll love it!

      Reply
  15. Debbie

    I love it! You had me at no-bake, but the beauty of the cheesecake and caramel, I can’t wait to make this! Good idea about baking early in the morning or when its cooler outside, I need to start doing that, thanks!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Yes, it helps to time the baking! Not always feasible, but when it works out, it helps.

      Reply
  16. Chef Dennis

    those are absolutely beautiful!!! I love the caramel, and this time of year no bake is a big plus! isn’t POM wonderful!!
    thanks so much for sharing !
    Great Start to your Pomerful Summer!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thanks Chef Dennis! Not nearly as beautiful and fancy as your pomegranate tiramisu, though! I really am having fun with POM :)

      Reply
  17. Cristina - Teenie Cakes

    This is an elegant, portion-controlled dessert that I would be proud to serve any time of the year. Gorgeous presentation…I’m so making this and luv the POMegranate Kissed Caramel Garnish!! Nicely done, Liren.

    Reply
    • Liren

      I thought of you when I made them, Cristina. One cheesecake is very filling, and definitely the right portion for one!

      Reply
    • Liren

      Thanks, Tracey! LOL, yes, you definitely have to stash a few for yourself for after your guests leave :)

      Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Mhel! Thank you! You’re right, they’re absolutely perfect for parties. Throw it in the freezer and forget about it till dessert time :)

      Reply
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