Orange cheesecake with cardamom
I absolutely love cheesecakes. The best ones are everything I love about desserts, gooey, sweet and crunchy. They can also be really simple like a lemon cheesecake, or gorgeous & complex like chocolate and raspberry with warm masala spices and honeycomb topping (I haven’t tasted this one yet, just dreamed about it). With cheesecakes you can play with textures & flavours of an infinite variety.
I first made this cheesecake several years ago at my sister’s house. We were having chicken fajitas, which are a big favourite in our house, and I wanted to make a cheesecake for dessert. I love orange cheesecake and found a recipe for a Middle Eastern Orange Flower one to try.
It was quite a sophisticated sounding recipe and was supposed to produce a light dessert to end a rich meal. Personally, I prefer to finish a big rich meal with a big rich dessert, so I decided to adapt it to my more greedy tastes.
I added loads more cream cheese, more honey and changed the base from sponge to biscuit. It tasted pretty good, but I decided to add cardamom because I was going through a cardamom phase at the time. It was a good decision as it tastes great with oranges.
I served it out & there was a comforting silence as everyone tucked in. A few lip smacks later and my brother-in-law loudly proclaimed it to be “diiiiiisgusting”. There was a moment of shocked silence and he looked amusingly bemused as he realized what he had said. He meant, thank God, to say delicious.
The texture of the filling should be soft and creamy with bursts of fresh orange tanginess. I add the cardamom in 2 ways; powdered and whole seeds.
This gives a teasing hint at first and then explosions of flavour as you crunch into a seed.
It really is a delicious cheesecake; I urge you to make it. Here’s how:
Orange cheesecake with cardamom recipe (Serves 6-8)
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees c / gas mark 5
200g Digestive Biscuits
80g Butter (melted)
500g cream cheese
2-3 tbsp honey
Grated rind of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 orange
1 tsp Orange flower water or an orange extract (we ran out of orange flower water so used ½ tsp of Valencia Orange Extract but I prefer the floral notes of the water)
5-10 Cardamom pods
2 eggs –beaten
Orange segments to decorate
- Make the base by crushing the biscuits and mixing with melted butter. Press this firmly into a buttered 20cm pie tin. Let this chill in the fridge for an hour if you have time.
- To make the filling it is important that the cheese is beaten until soft before you add the other ingredients so that the final result is smooth.
- Add the yoghurt, honey, orange juice, rind and the orange flower water. At this point I like to get the balance of the honey and orange correct. The flavour for me should be fresh with orange and not too sweet.
- Toast the cardamom pods, extract the seeds from 5 and crush them into a powder. Add this to the mixture and taste again. I like the flavour of cardamom to be quite strong as I love it, so I then add whole seeds too. Then, as you eat there are bursts of cardamom flavour (cardabombs!)
- Finally add the eggs and beat everything until smooth. I am not a fan of hard baked cheesecakes as I find then too cloying but if you like that, then add more eggs
- Pour the filling over the base & cook in a bain marie in a low oven (about 150 degrees C/ Gas 5) for 45-60 minutes
- Keep an eye on it after 30 minutes as overcooked cheesecake is still edible but not nearly as nice as when it shimmers and shakes and is beautifully soft. Keep tapping the tin to check.
- One indication of overcooking is a crack in the top if you see this take it out immediately.
- Once it has cooled I like to decorate the top with fresh orange segments. It looks great but more importantly it adds an important element to the flavour and texture as the fresh juice cleans your palate as you eat. It makes the dessert seem less sweet, so you can eat more!
Here’s a few more pictures to enjoy:
If you make it, let us know how it goes!