This year to a great extent I was more than ready to ring in a new year. I think maybe I like the sound of 2012 better than 2011. Possibly it’s because 2011 was not a great year in many regards but I won’t go into that as it’s now past. I’m looking onward and upward for great things in 2012 and I wish you the same!
To welcome this new year we celebrated with some old friends and our kids. What could be better than that? We had delicious food, icy cold bubbly, strong shots of tequila, a fire in the chiminea, good cigars for the guys, scores of laughter and this Orange Cheesecake. I’d earmarked the recipe for Christmas but was given a lovely cheesecake by a friend and so had stuck the cookbook back on a shelf until another time. I was delighted when I was asked to bring dessert for our celebration. I didn’t hesitate for a second before I knew I’d make this cake.
There are multiple reasons I’m bonkers about this cheesecake. Can you guess? Orange is my favorite color, also one of my favorite flavors, cheesecakes are such a cinch to make, and my entire family has an appetite for cheesecake. You might recall it’s Miss T’s favorite type of cake. Oh yes, there is one more reason. I was able to try out my new micro-plane for zesting the orange rind. I’m now looking for any reason to zest an orange as this new gadget made it such a breeze. I’d asked for one for Christmas but being the adoring hubby that my man Dan is he presented me with four of them. Ha! One Zester-Grater for parmesan, coconut or zest, a Fine Grater for garlic, nutmeg or citrus zest, (that’s the one I used) the largest is a Medium Ribbon Grater for onion, soft cheese and hard cheese, and the smallest of all a Spice Grater. I’d better get busy grating something- anything! If I’d have known the deftness these gizmos dealt I’d have asked for them a long time ago. Now that you’re sufficiently jealous of my new toys I’ll move on to the cheesecake.
Have you ever noticed those paperback cookbooks put out by Pillsbury at your grocery store checkout magazine rack? It’s an impulse buy for sure, but I’m guilty of buying them for years. Turns out a few of my favorite recipes are in these small books. The one I took the Orange Cheesecake recipe from is a 1998 edition named, “Festive Holiday Baking”. Not only does this recipe turn out a delicious cheesecake it makes a beautiful presentation. The shiny orange topping tempts one to put his or her finger right into the cake. I had to slap a hand or two before dessert was served. The crust, made with gingersnaps provides a crunchy, spicy base for the subtly flavored and creamy cheesecake filling, and the tang of the orange topping completes this exceptional, mouth-watering dessert.
2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps
3 tbsp. melted butter
3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tbsp. cornstarch
Heat oven to 325*F. In medium bowl combine crust ingredients; mix well. Press in bottom and 2 inches up the sides of ungreased 9-inch springform pan.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add egg one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add orange peel; blend well. Pour into crust lined pan.
Bake at 325* F. for 50-60 minutes or until almost set. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.
In a small saucepan, combine all topping ingredients; mix well. Cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened, stirring constantly. Cool 5 minutes; spoon over cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or preferably overnight before serving.
TIP: To cut cheesecake into neat pieces, prepare the cake a day ahead, cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve make smooth cuts with a long knife dipped in water.