My husband and I, along with four dearly loved friends, have enjoyed fantastic “Themed” dinner parties together for the past several years. We have cooked and celebrated great meals with one individual theme for each evening. I prepared these Bruleed Blood Orange Mini-Cheesecakes with a Citrus Glaze for an “Orange” themed evening.
Other evenings of “featured ingredients” or “Themes” have included Chocolate, Pomegranate, Orange, Pasta, Mediterranean, Burger Test Kitchen, and Watermelon. Every course for the themed dinner (appetizers, beverages, soups, salads, main dishes and desserts) has to include some form of the featured ingredient. Our hostess for these evenings, my deeply treasured friend Shari (and my inspiration for all things “food”), is a wonderful cook. She specializes in the main dishes (usually 2-3) and they are unbelievable! I usually end up making the desserts (usually 3-4), and our other friends bring an appetizer and/or the beverages (also utilizing the same “themed” ingredient). We have so much fun together and LOVE devouring the crazy recipes we all come up with! And we are all so FULL when we leave, we usually just waddle or roll out the door to our cars. Seriously.
For our “Orange” themed dinner a year or so ago (named “Night of the Bloody Oranges” by the way), I experimented with a recipe I found online. I ended up bringing these blood orange mini-cheesecakes as one of my dessert contributions that night. I took the original recipe and then made a citrus sauce to accompany it, and the results were delicious! The cream cheese, ricotta, citrus, and graham cracker crust blend to make this a delightful cheesecake…and when paired with the bruleed topping AND citrus sauce…whoa! Really, really good, and it looks great on a dessert plate, too! I’m not sure my photos do this dessert justice. Trust me…these are good. Really good.
|Crusts are prepared and ready in miniature tart pans|
|Cheesecake filling loaded in…then baked. Once cool, topping is added, and cheesecakes are refrigerated.|
|Topping added to cheesecake. Refrigerated, then served alongside citrus sauce. Sugar is sprinkled on top, and kitchen torch is used to heat the sugar until sugar is bruleed and crunchy on top. Ready to serve!|
Cheesecake recipe source: http://domesticfits.com/2012/02/22/bruleed-blood-orange-and-ricotta-mini-cheesecakes/
- 4 standard sized graham crackers, crushed (about ¾ cup crushed)
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoons blood orange zest (finely grated blood orange peel)
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice (or use regular if you can't find blood oranges)
- ⅓ cup ricotta cheese
- ⅓ cup confectioner's sugar (powdered)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¾ cup water
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
- ½ teaspoon finely grated orange rind
- Granulated sugar (to garnish and brulee the top of each mini-cheesecake-1½ teaspoons per cheesecake)
- Make The Crust: Spray mini-cheesecake pans or small tart pans (with removable disk on bottom) with non-stick spray.
- Process the graham crackers and brown sugar in food processor until it becomes small crumbs. Add the melted butter and mix until it looks like wet sand. Place 1 Tablespoon of the crumbs into the bottom of each pan. Press the crumbs together with your fingers or a spoon until well compacted. Set aside.
- Make The Cheesecake Filling: Place the cream cheese and ¼ cup ricotta cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl, if using hand mixer). Beat on high until combined. Add ½ cup granulated sugar, and beat on high until mixture is creamed. Add the egg, orange zest and blood orange juice; beat until well combined. (Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are mixed in well). Spoon the batter into the prepared crusts, being sure to only fill them ¾ of the way to the top.
- Bake the cheesecakes at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes (until the cheesecake filling no longer jiggles when rack is shaken). Remove from oven and let them cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before attempting to remove the cheesecakes from the pans. Once they cheesecakes have cooled, press gently upward on the bottom disk. The cheesecake should remove easily from the pan. Now careful remove the bottom "disk" from the cheesecakes. (TIP: If you are making these in batches, as I did, this is where you wash the tart pans and bottom disks and begin again with the crusts).
- Once the cheesecakes have cooled, you will notice that they sink slightly in the middle. That is normal. Now make the topping (this will fill in that indentation rather nicely!)
- Make The Topping: In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, powdered sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer, till well combined. Top each cheesecake with enough topping to fill the indented hole in the center till entire top surface is level. (see photo above). Place the cheesecakes in the refrigerator and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Make The Citrus Sauce: While the cheesecakes are chilling, make the citrus sauce.
- Stir together the sugar, salt and cornstarch in a saucepan. Gradually stir in the orange juice (regular), lemon juice and the water. Stir. Cook these ingredients over medium heat till mixture has boiled for 1 minute and has slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and add the finely grated lemon and orange rinds. Cover and let cool in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- To Serve: Right before serving, sprinkle an even layer of granulated sugar (approx. 1½ tsp.) over the top surface of each cheesecake. Slowly pass a kitchen torch over the sugar (about 2-3 inches away) until the sugar melts and turns golden brown (be careful not to burn the sugar OR your fingers!).
- Place the citrus sauce on each serving plate, and center the cheesecake on top. Garnish with a slice of a blood orange. Take a big bite (scoop up that citrus sauce) and ENJOY!