For me, nothing cures my homesickness for America like a cheesecake! Not the German Käsekuchen kind with curd and a yeast crust, but good old cookie crust with cream cheese filling and the flavor of the season cheesecake.
So I have decided to share a series of seasonal cheesecakes with you in the upcoming weeks and months.
This being the season of citrus as winter wanes and Spring fights for its footing, I will be kicking off my little Cheesecake-aganza! with Blood Orange Cheesecake.
As Spring is being so undecided this year we can all use the extra vitamins that citrus offers and blood oranges are my favorites their colorful flesh and juice bring a smile to my face and make me think of sun and warmth still so lacking in the barely blue skies. Even the word enchants me. As if the blood orange is something archaic from the times of the Crusades or what children now believe was the era of (Games of) Thrones.
Truth be told blood oranges are a mutation that originated in either China or the Southern Mediterranean, where they have been grown since the 18th century. They are now the primary oranges grown in Italy. There are three types of blood oranges: the Moro, the most colorful with a light raspberry and slightly bitter flavor. The sweetest but least red of the three is the Tarocco which is also the most common in Italy.
The third type is the Sanguinello also called Sanguinelli in the US. It was discovered in Spain in 1929, it has a reddish skin, fewer seeds and sweet tender flesh. The Sanguinello is also the Sicilian ‘late orange’ and is similar to the Moro. It matures in February but can remain on the trees unharvested until April and the fruit can last until the end of May.
It is the anthocyanins (water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH levels) which give the orange its distinct maroon or blood color both inside and on the ‘blushed’ outer skin. They will only develop if temperatures are low at night which is typical of Mediterranean winter and early Spring.
In Germany we have all three varieties readily available and in untreated organic form which are perfect both for their juice and zesting. Their slight bitterness make them a great marmelade orange too. You can use any of the three types for this cheescake. Make sure to roll the oranges around the counter to release their juices before cutting them – but then you knew that already!
Recipe adapted from Under the Highchair - thank you Aimée for the inspiration!
Blood Orange Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust
Ingredients for the crust:
- 150 grams / 1 ½ cups simple sugar cookies crumbs
- 30 grams / ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 75 grams / 1/3 cup of butter – melted
Ingredients for the filling:
- 2 packages of cream cheese 200 grams / ca. 1 cup each
- ¾ cup / 170 grams of sugar
- 5 M-size eggs – best at room temperature
- 120 grams / 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt
- juice and zest of 2 blood oranges – organic
- zest of 1 lemon – organic
Putting it all together:
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F / 175° C.
Make the crust by combining the cookie crumbs, cocoa powder and melted butter. Press the mixture into a springform pan or a pie dish – 10 inches or 23 cms wide. Press evenly and make a small rim about 1/3 up the sides. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool – don’t worry if the rim shrinks a little.
In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and then add the yoghurt, juice and zests, mixing well to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to combine after each one – don’t over beat.
Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 45 minutes – turn off the oven and let the cake sit another 10 minutes in the oven with the door shut.
Remove the cheesecake and cool completely. Although hard to wait the cake really does taste more intensely of oranges when cold. Oh and by the way this chessecake is also delicious when eaten watching a blood orange sunset!
Coming soon on Cheesecake-aganza:
Blueberry-filled Cheesecake with a Linzer Crust
Key Lime Pie Cheesecake
Information care of Wikipedia.