Playing With My Food ~
A journal about food, thought, travel, and life; by Chef & Raconteur Chaz French.

Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake

This one probably ties with the peanut butter brownie chunk cheesecake as other people’s favorite of my flavors. I’d say it’s pretty popular on my tongue too. The flavor of a childhood favorite gets transformed into a rich creamy cheesecake that will leave you wondering just how one came to recreate it. A professional baker actually asked how I did it, as it’s such a very specific flavor. My response was “I just set out to do it, and did.” I’m that way with a lot of cooking. My first attempt had the flavor but I had used more Cointreau and there was too much of an alcohol bite to it, so I re-did with less to get the balance right, and yes this is my way of saying don’t increase the amount of Cointreau.

Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake

Makes 1 nine inch cake

8T unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs (approx 13 whole honey grahams)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 pounds cream cheese at room temp.
1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup Cointreau (do not subsitute)
1 teaspoon orange extract
4 large eggs at room temp.
4T heavy cream
zest of one orange finely minced (couple of teaspoons)
pinch of salt
8oz Sour Cream
Orange food coloring.

Oven Rack Settings: 1 rack lowest position 1 rack middle position
Stand Mixer (Hand is doable but it takes a long time and strong arms)
Large mixing bowl (at least 6 qt)
Measuring spoons & cups
9 inch spring form pan.
Cookie pan large enough to hold spring form pan
Small baking dish filled with water
Small mixing bowl 1qt (or double boiler for chocolate)
Silicone or rubber spatula
Small paring (or other small non-serrated) knife
Food processor (or a lot of patience crushing those crackers)
Cooling rack
Offset spatula
Metal Skewer

Preheat oven to 350.

Place honey graham crackers, 1/4c sugar and the orange zest into the food processor and blitz to dust. Add 6T of the butter and blitz again, about 30 seconds until you have crumbs.

Pour this mixtures into the pan and press down with your knuckles so the pan is fully covered on the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides and well pressed.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until set. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

Lower oven temp to 275.

Place 1 package of cream cheese in the large mixing bowl (or your stand mixer bowl) along with about 1/4 of the remaining cup of sugar, beat until well combined, add in about of the sour cream and beat until whipped well. Make certain you scrape down the bowl from time to time while doing this.

Repeat this process until all packages of cream cheese, the sugar and the sour cream are incorporated and well mixed, scrape the bowl down often.

At this point add the Cointreau, add the vanilla and orange extracts, and the heavy cream then add the salt. Slowly add the eggs a little at time while continuing to mix & scrape the bowl. Once all of this has been added whip another minute or two. Reserve 2 cups of the batter and then pour the rest into the spring form pan. With the remaining 2 cups of batter add orange food coloring until you get a tangerine color, if you don’t have orange food coloring then mix red and yellow a couple of drops at a time until you the right color. It should be an odd looking tangerine color, sort of a dullish color (don’t worry it will look different later. When you get the color right, pour it in 4 dollops on top of the batter in the pan. Using a skewer swirl the orange batter into the rest don’t over do it or you’ll lose the swirls. I usually start with the upper right dollop swirling clockwise. Then down to the bottom right swirling counter-clockwise, bottom left, clockwise and upper left counter-clockwise. When you’re done you’ll see that all the swirls move towards the center of the cake.

Open oven, on lowest rack set the baking dish with the water. On the middle rack place the cookie sheet and set the filled spring form pan in it. Close the oven and bake at 275 for about 1 hour 45 minutes. (could take 10 minutes longer due to the alcohol content). The edges should be set but the center should still be wiggly (like jello) when done cooking. There may be some cracks around the edges up to 3/4 of an inch. Don’t worry these will settle beautifully.

Place cake on cooling rack, allow to cool for 30-45 minutes then go around edges with the offset spatula (or a thin knife) to loosen. Allow to continue cooling for 3 more hours.

Refrigerate to chill.