Blood Orange Cheesecake


Serves 8 to 10

Ricotta cheese makes this lighter and less rich than a standard cheesecake.

2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
6 or 7 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 Candied Blood Orange Slice
Blood Orange Glaze

Place ricotta in a sieve lined with cheesecloth, place in refrigerator, and let the ricotta drain for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fit a parchment circle into the bottom of a 7-inch springform pan.

Make crust: Combine graham-cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Stir in melted butter with a fork until crumbs are moistened. Press into bottom of pan, and bake for 10 minutes.

Place lemon juice in a small bowl, and sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Set aside for 10 minutes to soften.

In a small, heavy saucepan, beat egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in milk. Gradually whisk in remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. Add salt. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Do not allow to boil. Transfer to a bowl, and stir.

Stir in softened gelatin, orange zest, and vanilla, mixing until gelatin is completely dissolved. Set custard aside.

Place drained ricotta in the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth. Add cream cheese, and process again until smooth. With machine running, add warm custard, and process just long enough to combine. Transfer to a bowl, and fold in whipped cream. Pour mixture into the prepared pan, cover, and chill overnight.

Place a candied orange slice in center of cake. Pour glaze over top, tipping cake pan to cover completely. Chill for 1 hour, or until glaze is set.

To unmold, wrap a hot towel around sides of pan to help release cake, and run a thin knife around the inside of the pan. Carefully remove outside of pan. Slide onto a serving plate, and chill until ready to serve.

Candied Blood Orange Slices

Makes 5 to 6 slices

1 blood orange, scrubbed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Cut orange into 1/8-inch slices. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, water, and syrup. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until clear and no crystals cling to sides of pan, about 3 minutes. Add orange slices in 1 layer; simmer until transparent, about 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Blood Orange Glaze

Makes enough for one 7-inch cake

3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
7 tablespoons freshly squeezed blood-orange
    juice, strained (1 to 2 oranges)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons of the juice; let stand until soft, about 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and 4 tablespoons juice to a boil.

Combine remaining tablespoon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir until dissolved; whisk into boiling orange juice. Remove from heat. Stir in softened gelatin. Cool to lukewarm, and pour over cake.

Back to Dessert