Authentic Florida Orange Cheesecake
If you are looking for a sumptuous dessert that combines the flavors of Florida with a classic sweet treat, this Authentic Florida Orange Cheesecake recipe may be ideal for your table.
Enjoy the fun of gathering the ingredients by visiting local Sarasota farmers markets or local grocery stores (stocking seasonal citrus in the winter).
When baking this tasty dessert, savor the fresh aromas that will flow through your kitchen. You’ll swear you have been transported into a Florida orange grove.
Authentic Florida Orange Cheesecake Recipe
Yields: 12 Servings
2 cups of (finely ground) vanilla wafer cookies (1 box)
1/3 cup of golden brown sugar
6-7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4-6 Florida oranges, (for 1 cup of fresh orange juice)
1 cup of sugar, divided
2 Tablespoons of finely grated orange peel
4 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 container 8-ounce sour cream (1 cup)
3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon of salt
5 large eggs, room temperature
Orange Slices Topping
2-3 oranges, sliced in1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
9” Springform pan (removable bottom)
Medium sized bowl
Medium sized sauce pan
1 large roasting pan
Remove (minimum 2 hours prior) from the refrigerator 4 packages of cream cheese and 5 eggs.
Set the oven at 350 degrees, position rack in the middle of the oven.
Making the Crust
Using a food processor finely grind 9 ounces of vanilla wafers (3-4 cups of whole cookies). Once ground, measure 2 cups, place in a medium bowl.
Add 1/3 cup packed golden brown sugar.
Melt 6-7 Tablespoons of butter. Add 6 Tablespoons to the mixture (If mixture is still dry add 1 more Tablespoon of butter).
Press the mixture together with your fingertips, combining the three ingredients. Mixture should be damp.
Take the 9” spring form pan and press the crust mixture on the bottom of the pan and create 1” border up the side of the pan.
Bake crust at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until set and edges are golden brown.
Cool crust in pan on rack.
Wrap 4 layers of foil tightly around the outside of the pan so that it is completely waterproof (will be setting the pan in a water bath).
Maintain oven temperature at 350 degrees.
Making the Filling
Begin with these preliminary steps:
Zest 2 Tablespoons of orange zest from the skin of the oranges.
Juice 4 medium oranges to create 1 cup of orange juice.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of orange juice, ¼ cup of sugar, and 2 Tablespoons of orange zest and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to a simmer. For 10 minutes, let the mixture simmer reducing to ¾ cup. Chill until cool.
Meanwhile, using the electric mixer (and a large bowl), beat the 4 packages of (room temperature) cream cheese and ¾ cup of sugar until smooth.
Next, mix in 1 cup of sour cream, 3 Tablespoons of flour, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Beat in 5 eggs – one at a time.
Finally, mix in the cooled orange juice mixture.
Pour filling into the crust.
Create a Water Bath
Next, take a large roasting pan and place the spring form pan inside (lined with the aluminum foil). Then, pour in hot water around the spring form pan, so that water rises halfway up the sides of the pan.
Place in the oven. Bake about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Remove cake from the roasting pan and discard foil.
When cool, cover cake and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Orange Slices Topping (OPTIONAL)
Slice 2-3 oranges, in1/4 inch thick slices.
Combine 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a saucepan. Take the vanilla bean, split open lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the water and sugar mixture. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add the orange slices and simmer until translucent around 25 minutes.
Remove the oranges from the heat and let cool on a paper towel.
When oranges are cool, arrange on top of the cake.
Take a pastry brush and dab some of the remaining syrup on top of the oranges and over the surface of the cake to create a shiny coating.
Serve the cake either cold or room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com
Sarasota native Robin Draper is a columnist and owner of the award-winning “Blog of the Year” and “Best Travel Blog” website, AuthenticFlorida.com, a travel and lifestyle blog devoted to the simple and delightful pleasures for Florida living.