I was shopping recently and saw blood oranges on sale and I thought that there must be something I could use them for – so I bought some home. A quick search on Pinterest and up popped a beautiful Blood Orange Cheesecake that looked SO delicious I just had to give it a try. I did not know until I did some research that the blood orange is a winter fruit, and only becomes available starting in December, so that is probably why I found these now. They are slightly smaller than juice oranges, and the flesh ranges from dark orange to an almost maroon color, so the segments have a variety of color. You can decorate the top of the cheesecake with slices of oranges, but I had a hard time slicing them, so I just arranged slices of segments on the top. Also, if you can’t find blood oranges, I’m sure this recipe would be just as good using any other orange – maybe even tangerines?
I have a cheesecake recipe that I love, so I started there and added some blood orange juice to it. The basic cheesecake recipe that I use is actually Junior’s Famous Cheesecake recipe. Years ago (pre internet) when I was trying to find a cheesecake recipe that was more like the restaurant style cheesecakes I love, I ran across this recipe and it is almost perfect, in my opinion. One recipe that I had tried was the Frugal Gourmet New York Cheesecake recipe, but it always came out very “flat”, although it did taste great! One very late night, while I was half awake in bed with the TV on, the founder of Junior’s Cheesecake was making a cheesecake for a TV news show. As I heard him rattle off the recipe for this delicious cheesecake I jumped up, grabbed a pen and paper, and wrote down this recipe which I have used ever since. This recipe will produce a thick, silky, rich cheesecake! The only thing I did differently for this recipe was to add ½ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice from some blood oranges. I also used the blood orange segments and orange glaze to complete the cheesecake, and it was fantastic!
- FOR THE CRUST
- 2 cups of Graham cracker crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Pinch salt (if using salted butter, omit the pinch of salt)
FOR THE CHEESE FILLING
- Four 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 & 2/3 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
*½ cup of blood orange juice for orange cheesecake
FOR THE ORANGE GLAZE
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup no-pulp orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
*Makes approximately 2 cups of glaze
Preheat oven to 350° F
Spray the spring form pan with cooking spray of your choice. If you want to easily remove the cake from the bottom of the pan, place a ring of parchment paper on the bottom.
Make the crust for your cheesecake by mixing the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and butter together till well mixed, then press into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan into the freezer for about 15 minutes. I did not cook the crust, but if you prefer you may bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 350°. The uncooked crust turned out great in my opinion, but may be a bit crumbly for some. Baking helps firm the crust.
Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in the bowl you use for your mixer. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Then add the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese a little at a time and beat till smooth.
Increase the mixer speed to high, and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cup of sugar and the vanilla. Immediately add the eggs, one at a time, beating the batter well after adding each one. Slow the mixer down and add the heavy cream, only mixing till the cream is completely blended. You can add the OJ at this point and only mix till incorporated.
Before filling the spring form pan, wrap the outside of the pan with foil, covering the bottom and extending up the sides. If you are worried about leaking you can use 2 sheets of foil. Put a pan that you can fit your spring form pan into (I used a large cake pan) in the oven.
Gently spoon the cheese filling into the spring form pan on top of the crust. Lightly tap the spring form pan on the counter before baking to release any air bubbles. Place the spring form pan into the larger pan in the oven, then fill the outer pan with warm water so that it comes up about 1 inch on the side of the spring form pan.
Bake the cheesecake at 350° F until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. At this point turn off oven and let cheesecake stand in oven for one hour to cool. Remove from oven and let sit at room temperature for another hour or so. Then you can remove the cake from the spring form pan. Run a knife around the edge to help loosen the cake before you release the spring on the pan. At this time I place the cheesecake on a cake board and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours.
Just before serving make the orange glaze – In a small pot on low heat add water, orange juice, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Whisk continually for about 5 to 8 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and add butter while whisking till incorporated. As mixture cools it will become like a jelly. You can re-heat on low heat to bring it back to a pourable form.
Take slices of oranges or segments and place on top of the cheese cake, then drizzle the glaze over. Let the glaze cool on the cake before serving.
TIP: to slice cheesecake, use a warm knife and have a glass of warm water to wipe off the knife between slices, so it makes a clean cut.