Orange Blossom Honey Cheesecake

Orange Blossom Honey Cheesecake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

crust:

  • 3/4 cup crushed honey graham crackers (about 1 "sleeve")
  • 1/2 cup almond meal flour (or raw almonds, toasted and very finely crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

cheesecake:

  • 1 pound (two 8-ounce boxes) low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup orange blossom honey
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

ganache:

  • 2 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon Grand Marnier, or other orange liqueur


notes:

  • This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9 or 10-inch spring form pan for a larger/standard-sized cheesecake.  Baking time may need to be increased a little.
  • If using almonds instead of almond flour, toast the almonds first by spreading on a baking sheet and baking at 350 for 8-10 minutes until they are very fragrant.  Crush in a food processor.


Getting Ready:

Preheat the oven to 350.  Wrap a small spring form pan (7 inches in diameter, with 2 1/2 inch-high sides) with 2 layers of heavy foil (the foil will prevent the water from the water bath from leaking into the cake).  Spray the inside bottom and sides of the pan with non-stick spray.


Prepare the Crust:

In a bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, almond flour, sugar and salt.  Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and toss with a fork to moisten.  Press the crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.

Freeze crust in the pan for 10 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes.  Set aside while you prepare the filling.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300.


Prepare the Filling:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.  Add the honey, sugar, vanilla, orange extract and zest, and beat for 5 minutes until light and smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.  Beat in the sour cream and heavy cream.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for several more minutes for a very light and airy batter.

Pour the batter over the crust and smooth out the surface.  The pan should be full almost to the top.

Place the spring form pan into a baking dish or roasting pan.  Pour boiling or very hot water into the baking dish so that it comes halfway up the sides of the pan.  Bake for 1 hour, to 1 hour and 20 minutes, until the top is a pale golden brown, a crust has formed on top, and the cake has risen slightly;  the cake will still seem jiggly if you shake it, though.  Turn off the oven, and let the cheesecake sit in the warm oven for 1 more hour.  Transfer to a wire rack on the counter and cool for 1 hour.  Place in the refrigerator and cool for at least 4 hours, or overnight.


Make the Ganache:

Place the chopped bittersweet chocolate in a bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium-low heat, just until it begins to bubble.  Remove from the heat.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes.  Stir with a spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in the Grand Marnier.  Let ganache sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, until thickened slightly to the right consistency for spreading/pouring on top of the cheesecake.


Serving:

While the ganache is thickening, take a sharp knife and run it around the edges of the cake to loosen the crust from the pan.  Remove the sides of the pan.  Serve the cake on its metal base, or if you're careful, you can slide a large spatula under the crust to transfer it from the base to a serving plate or cake pedestal.

Pour the ganache over the cake, letting it run down the sides if you like.  Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set the ganache before slicing.


Yields 6-8 servings.


Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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