16 March 2007
HHDD #10: Mascarpone Orange Cheesecake
Here's my entry for Hey Hey, It's Donna Day #10 - Theme: Cheesecake. It's an altered recipe from the Zesty Lemon Cheesecake I had the other day when Ben and I went to A Chef's Kitchen.
1 lb. ginger snaps, ground into fine crumbs using a food processor
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 stick + 2 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine all ingredients to get a coarse, crumbly mixture. Press into the bottom and sides of a 10" springform pan. It is not essential that the crumbs go all the way up the sides of the pan. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool while you make the filling.
Note 1: Here's a trick I got from Chef John. He said to turn the bottom of the springform pan upside-down when putting it together. This will prevent what he calls a "rim effect" which makes the cheesecake more difficult to cut later on. However, this also allows for butter to seep out more easily, so I also lined the outside of the pan with a layer of foil and then placed it on a cookie sheet while baking.
Note 2: I actually made the crust the night before and let it sit in a cool oven until I had made the filling. However, I meant to get up early to make the filling, but ended up over sleeping. I didn't get to make the filling until the afternoon, so the crust has been sitting in the oven for a whole day. This doesn't appear to be a problem though.
2 lb cream cheese
8 oz. mascarpone
4/3 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 large eggs
zest and juice of one orange
50 ml Contreau
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Blend on medium until smooth and creamy. Mix in eggs, one at a time, on low speed. Add in remaining ingredients. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until the interior reads 165-170 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Let cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Note 1: It's important that all the ingredients for the filling are at room temperature. This makes it easier to mix everything together, and it prevents you from adding any more air into the filling.
Note 2: Chef John said that to prevent cracking, you can try baking with the oven door slightly ajar. But, he also mentions that the best way to prevent cracking is to just let it happen and cut the cake just right so that you don't notice it when serving or cover it with a garnish.
Note 3: At 375 degrees F, it took a really long time for my cheesecake to finish baking; I think upwards of about an hour and a half. I also turned the the oven off for the last 10 minutes of baking, and let the cheesecake sit in the oven with the door slightly ajar for about 10 minutes before pulling it out to cool.
The Garnish: Chocolate Candied Orange Peel
3 large oranges
3 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
semisweet or dark chocolate, melted (optional)
Cut the peel on each fruit into quarters. Pull the peel off in these quarter sections, reserve fruit for something else. Slice peel into 1/4 inch-wide strips. Place peels in a saucepan with salt and cover with cold water. Boil 15 minutes, pour off water and add fresh water. Boil 20 minutes. Change water again and boil another 20 minutes. Drain and cover with 2 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup water. Simmer, stirring constantly, until all the syrup has boiled away. Do not let the peels scorch. Spread on wax paper. Roll peels in remaining sugar. Let dry.
Store in an airtight container for one week at room temperature or frozen for one month. You can also dip the peels in melted chocolate and let them harden on wax or parchment paper.
Last note: I found that the cheesecake was perfect alone, or maybe with a little whipped cream. The candied orange peel was much sweeter than I imagined that it would be, so dipping it in dark chocolate would help balance the sweetness.