Cheesecake is one of those foods that people tend to get a little fussy over.
I can sense the frantic thoughts spinning in your heads… That’s not a true New York Cheesecake! Is it that Philadelphia-style cheesecake? Or the sour cream variety? Or Italian ricotta and mascarpone cheesecake? And what is up with that crust? I see no graham crackers…
Take a deep breath, and let me explain.
The fact is, most countries worldwide have their own rendition of cheesecake (even Southeast Asia) and many have been making them for literally thousands of years. There are hundreds of variations, so there is no right or wrong way to make cheesecake. It’s a preference thing?
And if you haven’t tasted but one or two varieties…. How would you know what you prefer?
So let your guard down and allow me to give you my sales pitch on this particular cheesecake. *wink*
Historically, the Greeks invented cheesecake, that is until the Romans took over and claimed it as their own.
So it would only make sense to add Greek yogurt, right? The ancient Greeks even published a book about their preferred styles of cheesecake.
Yogurt Cheesecake with Orange Shortbread Crust and Chambord Honey Drizzle is a concept I’ve been playing around with, and find quite delightful.
It’s rich, but not dense, with a slightly airy quality. It has a perky tang from the cream cheese, yogurt, and orange juice. Plus, it isn’t overly sweet.
I adjusted the crust to be more of a “special feature” than the traditional American graham cracker crust.
I used my favorite shortbread recipe and added orange zest to mimic the flavor and aroma of the cheese filling. Did it work? Let me just say, I will probably never make a graham cracker crust for cheesecake again.
Finally to enhance this Yogurt Cheesecake with Orange Shortbread Crust and Chambord Honey Drizzle even further, I added a drizzle of Chambord Raspberry Liqueur and honey, then topped it with some fresh raspberries. It’s understated, elegant, comforting, and bright.
What more could you ask of a dessert that contains no chocolate?
This is just the sort of treat I would make for the holidays. So I wanted to share it with you in time for your celebrations this year. Cheesecake makes a wonderful party dessert because it’s lovely enough to double as a centerpiece and rich enough to cut into small pieces.
It’s also a great make-ahead!
Yogurt Cheesecake with Orange Shortbread Crust and Chambord Honey Drizzle
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- Zest of 1 orange
- 3 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
- 1 1/8 cup sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- Juice of 1 orange, about 1/4 cup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons Chambord, raspberry liqueur
- 3 cups fresh raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-10 inch spring-form pan with parchment paper and attach the ring over the rim. Trim the excess paper. Grease the sides of the pan and wrap the exterior with foil.
Using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add the salt, flour, and orange zest. Beat until combined. Press the dough into the bottom and half way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes, then cool.
- Once the crust comes out of the oven, prepare a water bath by placing a roasting pan containing 1-2 inches of hot tap water in the oven while it's preheating.
- Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Scrape the bowl and beat again. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the yogurt and remaining ingredients. Scrape the bowl again then beat until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the shortbread crust and carefully place the pan down into the water bath. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 275 degrees F and bake for 1 more hour.
- Once the timer goes off, turn off the heat, but leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1-2 hours to cool. Carefully remove it from the oven and set on the counter to cool all the way before placing it in the fridge. Then refrigerate until chilled through.
- Whisk the Chambord and honey together. Use as is, or simmer on the stove to render out the alcohol. Cool before using. *I used mine uncooked; the kids aren’t getting enough to make a difference.
- To serve: Garnish with fresh raspberries and drizzle with Chambord Honey. You can even mix a little of the Chambord Honey in with the raspberries to make them glossy if you want to pile them on top of the cheesecake.
Contrary to modern opinion, cheesecakes are not hard to make. They just take a little time in the oven, and you need to prepare your pan properly before you start. Don't be afraid to give this a try!
The water bath: Most bakers agree, using a water bath is an extremely important step in avoiding cracks on the top of your cheesecake--but it's not foolproof. Cracks can form when the cheesecake rises or cools too quickly. Some cheesecakes are simply destined to have a crack, no matter what you do! It doesn't effect the flavor or texture, only the appearance. So it's a good idea to have raspberries of some other garnish ready, if needed. To prepare a water bath, place a roasting pan containing 1-2 inches of hot tap water in the oven while it's preheating. Carefully wrap the exterior of your spring-form pan with foil. Make sure it comes all the way up the sides. If you don't have a roasting pan, or are afraid of water leakage, you may place bread pans filled with hot water on three sides of the spring-form pan while it bakes. The cheesecake isn't insulated by the hot water, but it is still providing the steaming effect of a water bath.
Another step you may take to avoid cracks is to allow your cheesecake to cool slowly in the oven for 1 -2 hours after the required baking time. The slower it cools the better.
Following these two steps will provide a crack-free cheesecake over 90% of the time. Those are pretty good odds as far as cheesecakes go!