This year Thanksgiving was a low key affair. We stayed home and had plans to eat shrimps and rice. But when we went to Wholefoods the night before to pick up milk, both the husband and I kind of started checking out the whole roasting chickens. On a whim, I picked one up and started planning the menu for the next day. So for Thanksgiving Day lunch we ate whole roasted chicken (marinated with fried onions-garlic-cilantro-mint paste), Green Beans sauteed with some chopped garlic, Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Croutons and the star of the day - Orange Cheesecake. We have always loved the refreshing taste of this cheesecake which I have made several times this year.
- Graham Cracker Crumbs - 2 Cups
- Butter - 1 1/2 sticks, 12 tbs or 3/4 Cup (at room temperature) plus some for greasing
- Cream Cheese (at room temperature) - 6 oz
- Ricotta Cheese - 3/4 Cup
- Zest of an whole orange, make sure it is a big one
- Eggs - 3 (at room temperature)
- Sugar - 3/4 Cup plus 2 tbs
I used a springform pan, you can definitely use a regular pie pan, or as in the original recipe you can bake in a muffin tin and make individual cheesecakes. If you are doing it in a muffin tin, use cupcake lines - makes it much easier to pull those out.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease the bottom of a springform. Combine the graham crackers and butter together and press the crumbly mixture firmly down. Stick it into the oven and bake it for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Make a smooth batter using the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar and half of the orange zest. Make sure that there are no lumps and it is silky smooth. Pour the batter into the springform pan over the pre-baked graham cracker crust. Mix the remaining of the orange zest and 2 tbs of sugar and sprinkle it over the batter.
Now the most important part - to ensure that the cheesecake remains moist and does not crack just put a pan full of water in the lower rack of your oven and bake the cheesecake on the upper rack. Since there is a chance that the springform pan might leak, it is better not to put the pan directly on a larger pan full of water.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes. To check if it is done, give the pan a gentle wiggle. If it is firm at the edges and a little jiggly in the middle - it is about done and will nicely set up in the refrigerator.
Chill the cheesecake for an hour or 2, but let it come to room temperature before serving.
Another thing to remember is while the cheesecake is baking try not to open the oven door as it lets out the steam and also the temperature might drop which may cause the cheesecake to sink or crack.
Recipe adapted from here