Orange & Cranberry Cheesecake
The idea to make this cheesecake came from a bag of frozen cranberries and an overload of oranges. I usually make a lemon cheesecake, but this time, I decided to go for something new. And since oranges and cranberries remind me so much of Christmas, it only felt natural to use Pepparkakor biscuits, the traditional Swedish Christmas spicy cookies, for the crust. And all of these flavours fell into place perfectly.
The taste and aroma of this cheesecake is very nicely balanced. Texture-wise, I’ll admit that I could’ve gone the extra mile to make it fluffier by baking it in a water bath, but I just didn’t have the time for that, nor the patience. If you do posses more of those than I do, you should probably go for it, I’m sure you’d get a wonderfully light and airy cheesecake.
What’s really nice about this recipe is that you can play around with it as you like. You could use the juice from two lemons and the zest from one instead of the orange and pair it with a raspberry coulis. Or perhaps you could still do an orange cheesecake, but with chocolate biscuit crust and topped with a mixed berry coulis. Or instead of using Pepparkakor, you could use Biscoff cookies or plain graham crackers. The options are pretty vast and either way, I’m sure it would taste very nice so I hope you do decide to make it. And then taste it and share it with friends after dinner. And also maybe have a slice for breakfast the next morning; just a thought.
Orange & Cranberry Cheesecake
For the crust:
140g/5 oz. Pepparkakor biscuits (sold in IKEA, they even have an organic version)
60g/1/3 cup coconut sugar (feel free to use any sugar you have on hand)
A pinch of salt
75g/5 Tblsp unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool
Preheat oven to 180C/250F. To make the crust, blitz the biscuits in a food processor until finely ground. Alternately, put them in a ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. In a bowl, mix together the crushed biscuits with sugar, salt, melted butter and mix until well combined. Press this mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 20 cm/9 in. springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool to room temperature. Keep oven heated to 180C/350F.
For the Orange Cheesecake filling:
680g/24 oz cream cheese
4 large free-range eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or scraped seeds from one vanilla pod
1 large orange, zested and juiced
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add the sugar and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla, orange zest and orange juice and mix until well combined. Pour mixture in the cooled crust. Pop in the oven and bake for around 45-50 minutes, until cake is set in the middle. You might need to cover with tinfoil after the first 25-30 minutes of baking, if the top is browning too quickly. When it’s ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
For the Cranberry Sauce:
300g/11 oz. cranberries, fresh or frozen
200g/1 cup coconut sugar or any other kind of sugar you prefer
200ml/1 cup water
Zest from one orange
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add cranberries, cover with a lid and cook for around 5 minutes, until the cranberries have all popped. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, use a slotted spoon to transfer cranberries to the top of the cheesecake, and sprinkle with the zest from one orange. Store the cheesecake in the fridge until ready to serve.