Citrus Cheesecake with Ginger Honey Crumb Recipe
New York cheesecake is known for being denser as it usually contains lots of cream. Philly cheesecake is lighter in texture and is usually more flavorful. Of course, that is a matter of opinion with the cheesecake enthusiast. There are many versions of cheesecakes around depending on the cook and the region. I came up with this version - which is more Philadelphia-style - when I had an abundance of lemons and limes on hand which are in season from the end of May - August. With the addition of oranges added to the mix, this citrus cheesecake with a ginger honey crumb crust recipe is light and vibrant. The citrus flavors bring the palate alive.
I use Philadelphia cream cheese in this recipe, however, if you want to lighten up the calories in this cheesecake you may use Neufchatel cream cheese if you wish. You can find it in the refrigerated dairy section of your local market. You will need a 9 inch spring form pan which is at least 2 3/4 inches high for this recipe and some aluminum foil.
This is a great recipe to enjoy at any time of the year, but especially during the summer months, when you are looking for a refreshing and light way to end the day!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2 cups honey graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. honey
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. lemon zest, grated, plus 1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. lime zest, grated, plus 1 tsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. orange zest, grated, plus 1 tsp. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1. Spray the bottom of the spring form pan with cooking spray. Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan.
2. Combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, ginger and honey in a bowl. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the spring form pan evenly and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
3. In a stand or electric hand mixer, blend the cream cheese until it becomes smooth. Add the ricotta, lemon, lime and orange zests, the juices and vanilla essence. Mix together (some lumps are okay).
4. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time until they are all blended into the batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. Pour the cheese mixture on top of the cracker crumb.
5. Place the cheesecake in a larger baking dish with deep sides and pour enough hot water (tap water is fine) into the bottom to come at least halfway up the sides of the spring form pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The cheesecake is ready to remove from the oven when it still jiggles in the center. Remove and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 8 - 24 hours.
For presentation purposes, it is nice to garnish the top of the cheesecake with thin half moons of the lemon, lime and orange, making a spiral effect in the center.
COOK'S NOTES and TIPS
When pouring the hot water into the pan, I would suggest having the hot water ready in a kettle or a jug with a pouring spout. Place the cheesecake in the oven and slowly and carefully pour in the hot water. Please exercise caution when removing the pan from the oven. This technique of baking in a water bath is so that the heat will distribute evenly while cooking. You can, however, bake your cheesecake right on the rack and you will get good results. Just remember to look for the jiggle in the center.
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