It is time to CELEBRATE as this is my 800th post on my blog which I started over three years ago. It has been an interesting and fun journey for me where I have learned a lot, met some new friends and even bought a new Nikon DSLR camera. No, I am not an expert photographer, blogger, or computer expert for that matter, but I am enjoying this experience – cooking and sharing what I have learned over the past 40 years.
First, let’s talk about this deliciously flavored cheesecake. I decided that something sweet was the only way to celebrate this big occasion. I found this lovely dessert in a Fine Cooking magazine not too long ago and set it aside for the right opportunity to make it. I mean all four words in this recipe’s name say “yummy”. This recipe has it all; chocolate, candied oranges and zest, Amaretto (yum), pistachio crust, ricotta, butter and all of those other high calorie ingredients. I have made my tried-and-true Irish Cream Cheesecake for a long time but felt it was time to make something new that was totally different.
Chocolate-Orange Cannoli Cheesecake, Adapted
Some of the steps can be done a few days before serving so do plan ahead when you make this scrumptious dessert. The crust needs to be made at least 20 minutes beforehand but you certainly can make it a day or two earlier. I made the sugared orange garnishes the day before and also drained my fresh ricotta in a strainer placed over a bowl and covered in the refrigerator. This will get rid of any excess liquid. You could also wrap the ricotta in cheesecloth and allow the liquid to drain into a bowl overnight.
- 3/4 cup shelled salted pistachios
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until finely chopped, in brief pulses. Add the flour and sugar, and pulse until the mixture is mealy. In a small bowl, whisk the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla. Add to the processor and pulse until the mixture holds together when pinched. Did this crust ever smell good – love those pistachios!
Press the mixture into the bottom and about 1/2-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 325°F. Bake the crust until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F. See my important COMMENT after the recipe for oven temperatures.
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 cups good quality ricotta, drained if wet (I buy it fresh from Whole Foods)
- 1 tbsp. Amaretto liqueur
- 1 tbsp. fresh orange zest, finely grated
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped ( I use Ghiradelli which is available in my area or cocoa drops which is what I use in the cannolis I make)
- 1 tbsp. candied orange peel, finely chopped (check out the picture of the whole candied orange from Spain below)
- Sugared orange slices for garnish (see recipe below)
In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or flat beater, beat the cream cheese, sugar and salt on medium speed until soft and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ricotta and beat until the mixture is smooth and light, another minute. It really does fluff up!
In a small bowl, mix the amaretto, orange zest, cornstarch and vanilla; add to the ricotta mixture. Beat in the eggs, one at a time; do not overbeat. Fold in the chocolate and candied orange peel.
Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake at 275°F (see comment below) until the edges look set but the center 4 inches jiggles slightly when the pan is nudged, about 50 minutes. Turn the oven off, run a thin paring knife around the edge of the cheesecake and let cool in the oven, the door slightly ajar for 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.
Refrigerate, covered, until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours. The cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
Run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake again before removing the side of the pan. To slice, heat the knife under hot water between each cut and wipe it dry.
To serve, carefully run a thin sharp knife under the cheesecake. Then move it to a decorative cake stand using a big round pizza spatula. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and enjoy!
Sugared Orange Slices:
Cut a few 1/4-inch slices from an orange, then cut the slices into fourths. Blanch for about 20 seconds in boiling water and pat dry. Let cool and toss in coarse sanding sugar, transfer to parchment paper and let sit overnight. The next day I also moved the slices to scott towels to further dry; did not want the orange slices to run on the cake top. Just before serving, sprinkle with more sanding sugar.
I made plenty of orange slices as you want this special cheesecake to look fantastic!
COMMENT: After 60 minutes of cooking time the cheesecake jiggled too much. I turned up the oven to 350°F and cooked it for another 17 minutes (including the preheat time) and it finished cooking perfectly. You know how it is, you look at a recipe and you do not think it’s quite right but you go ahead with the directions as written. I just had to be prepared to make changes which is what I did. The author is an executive chef and maybe the low temperature worked in her professional oven but not in mine!
So, next time I make this cheesecake I will preheat the oven to 350°F, bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes and cool. Add the filling and cook for 50 to 60 minutes. This is the temperature I use to make my Irish Cream Cheesecake and it always come out perfectly baked!
Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com
The pistachio crust…
I was going to candy my own oranges but while shopping at Whole Foods I was introduced to this lovely candied whole orange from Spain. Just beautiful and almost too pretty to eat – I had to buy one just to taste it!
My cheesecake turned out perfectly – just look at those specs of chocolate and orange zest/candied orange pieces 🙂
I am bringing this absolutely delightful cheesecake to the gang over at Fiesta Friday #67. Angie, Caroline and Jess are hosting this week’s fabulous party and I know everyone will enjoy this special dessert 🙂