After a failed attempt at a lime cream pie and the lingering memories of Cook’s Country Sour Orange Pie, I wanted to do something orange again. I also had some really terrible cheesecake from a supermarket that spurred me to try my hand. I don’t normally make cheesecakes or remember them fondly. However, I need to decide if that is because most places can’t make a cheesecake worth eating or if it’s generally not my style. I don’t really like cream cheese and I don’t really like crumb crusts because they aren’t crisp like a pie or tart crust and thus provide no textural contrast. So cheesecake has its work cut for it.
Here I am stealing a page from Cook’s Illustrated’s lemon cheesecake and trying a technique where I literally just bake a cookie as the crust. Considering that tart shells are almost identical to shortbread cookies, I think this will work out. Fingers crossed.
Gingersnap Cookie Crust
6.25oz all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4.375 oz dark brown sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 large egg yolk
Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Brown butter in large saucepan, remove from heat and whisk in spices . Let cool for 2 minutes then whisk in brown sugar, molasses and fresh ginger. Finally whisk in egg yolk. Dump in dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
Prepare a 9-in springform pan and pat cookie dough into bottom of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour while you preheat the oven to 300 degrees. When ready to proceed, bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes until cookie is set and edges are darkening. Remove from oven and turn oven down to 250.
Sour Orange Filling
10.5 oz sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp orange zest
6 tbsp orange juice concentrate
6 tbsp lemon juice
1½ pounds cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a food processor, process zest and sugar until zest is very fine.
Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat cream cheese on low speed until broken up and slightly softened, about 5 seconds. With mixer running, add 7 oz of sugar/zest mixture in slow, steady stream; increase speed to medium and continue to beat until mixture is creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in eggs, two at a time, until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl well after each addition. Add lemon juice and OJ concentrate and salt and mix until just incorporated, about 5 seconds. Give filling final stir by hand.
Pour into crust, cover tightly with foil and bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, remove foil and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes until center is 150 degrees and edges are set and the cake has a faint jiggle. Cool completely on wire rack before transferring to fridge for 2 hours.
Sour Orange Curd
3.5 oz sugar/zest mixture from filling
3 tbsp orange juice concentrate
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs and 1 yolk
3 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients except butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat whisking frequently until mixture reaches 170 degrees. Whisk in butter. Let cool before spreading on top of refrigerated cake. Return cake to fridge for 2 hours before serving.