Thursday, 16 January 2014

Seville orange cheesecake

The first hit of the citrus season
Its that time of year again-the citrus season.When all seems grey and grim that jewel in the winter crown of the Sevillian courtyard brings a dash of colour to the Iberian winter.
Finding new recipes for Seville oranges should be the theme of a competition.Having worked as an editorial designer in my other life,after three years of working on "that" title I was hard pressed to find a fresh way of presenting the annual autumn rain wear story to a captive audience, to whom aspirational ways of wearing a mac was an expectation. Luckily six years of harvesting Seville oranges in the Algarve does not concede the same resignation.
6 years of making marmalade every Spring has been taken as given.Making marmalade is a cheery thing to do on dreary winter´s day, bringing a heady scent into one´s home and  bestowing a great reward on its maker.Oh that joy that is felt when a jar of this years batch is good and ready and plonked on the table.
Marmalade however is not just for spreading on toast and each year I need to find new ways with the mass of Seville oranges and lemons that weigh down our trees in early spring.This year the madcap in me was saying how about making the sharp tang of Seville oranges shine through in a cheesecake, and use up the plethora of last years home made marmalade.I love a cheesecake I, and particularly the no cook variety.
 

For the base:Serves 8
You will need:
a 20cm (8in) springform tin, base lined with baking parchment
15 large digestive biscuits
85g / 3oz unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Break up the digestive biscuits  and place them into the bowl of a food processor.
Place the butter in a heavy-based pan and melt gently.
Process the biscuits in the food processor, until the mixture has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
Line the base of a 20cm / 9in-10in loose-based spring-form cake tin with a round of greaseproof paper. Brush the bottom of the tin with some of the melted butter and place the round of greaseproof paper in the base.
Add the remaining melted butter to the biscuit crumbs in the food processor and process again briefly.
Tip the crumbs into the bottom of the cake tin. Using the back of a spoon, gently push the crumbs from the centre outward, until smooth and level. This will form the base of the cheesecake.
Bake the cheesecake base in the oven for 10-15 minutes until it's lightly browned and just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least five minutes.

For the filling:
250g (9oz) cream cheese
100g (4oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 oranges, zest finely grated, and juice of 1 orange
3 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water
3 rounded tbsp Seville orange marmalade
200ml (1/3 pt or 7fl oz) double cream

Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add 50g (2oz) sugar, the egg yolks and orange zest and beat again until smooth and creamy.
Place the orange juice in a small saucepan and bring up to a boil, remove from the heat. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves, add to the hot orange juice and swirl the pan until the gelatine is dissolved. Pour onto the cream cheese mixture, beating well. Stir in the marmalade. Lightly whisk the cream to soft peaks and fold into the cream cheese mixture. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, add the remaining 50g (2oz) sugar and whisk again until thick and glossy. Fold into the cream cheese mixture then pour over the biscuit base. Give a couple of sharp taps on the worktop to remove any air pockets, then smooth the surface. Chill for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. 

To serve, run a round bladed knife around the outside of the tin to release the cheesecake. Cut into slices with a hot dry knife and serve with extra orange segments if desired.

Pantry tip:If you have space in your freezer (I don´t have a chest large enough alas, and if I did I would I would be far to pushed busy wise later in the year  and would rather get this yearly, lengthy and sometimes tedious task out of the way now) and can’t be bothered to make marmalade right now, whole Seville oranges can be frozen successfully.

Other uses: Try juicing Seville oranges and using them in sauces for fatty meats like duck.The juice cuts through any greasiness in gravies and sauce.Alternatively, try reducing it with a little sugar to make a glaze that you can baste onto a duck leg or breast.

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