Be prepared, dear readers, for a week filled with blood-orange-inspired recipes. For the lovely people at Red Belly Citrus gifted several Canberra bloggers – including yours truly – with a box of this gorgeous fruit. And, given the never-ending colds that are floating around our family – I suspect the vitamin C laden delivery could not have come at a better time! One thing I hadn’t appreciated, before now, is that the iconic crimson-red hue of the blood orange comes from is unique ability to produce Athocynanins (which, according to the Red Belly Citrus website, is “one of the most powerful phyto-chemicals known in the plant kingdom…known for their potent antioxidant capability, being some 150 times more powerful than Vitamin C alone…”). In fact, the reason blood oranges are not available all year is because they require the right environmental conditions to help build Athocynanin- levels (ie. almost freezing night temperatures as well as high day temperatures). But the real fun part – when gifted an abundant supply of a delightful ingredient such as this – is getting creative in the kitchen. And I’ve certainly been doing just that. So stay tuned for a few savoury, and a few sweet treats this week. To kick things of….. Vanilla cheesecake with blood orange curd! Delicious blood orange curd – made using the microwave (!?) – swirled through a chilled vanilla cheesecake mixture – set atop a gluten free biscuit base. With the added bonus being that I used only a portion of the curd in the final cake, so I have plenty leftover to indulge in over the weeks to come. And while I normally lean towards baked cheesecakes, this chilled cheesecake was light and creamy – and received positive reviews from the ‘family taste testers’. Not to mention coming together with relative ease. The beautiful sweetness of the oranges shone through, and added a lovely hit of citrus to the otherwise creamy cake. Definitely a nice fresh take on the ol’ lemon cheesecake! Vanilla cheesecake with blood orange curd For curd: makes about 1.5 cups
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 85g caster sugar
- grated rind of one blood orange
- 2 blood oranges – juiced
- 65g butter, chilled and chopped
- 250g packet plain biscuits (I used GF biscuits)
- 150g butter, melted
- 3 tsp powdered gelatine
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 500g cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Grated rind of one blood orange
- 300ml cream, whipped
- 1/4 cup blood orange curd
- For the curd: Combine eggs, egg yolk, sugar and rind in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add orange juice, and whisk until well combined. Add the butter. Place the bowl on a plate in the microwave, and cook uncovered on medium for 5-8 minutes – stirring every minute. Remove the curd when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a fine sieve, and set aside to cool.
- For the cheesecake: Grease a 20cm round spring form pan, and line base and sides with baking paper.
- Process biscuits in a food processor until the form fine crumbs. Add the melted butter, and mix to combine. Press into the base of the prepared tin, and chilli in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle gelatine over the boiling water, and whisk with a fork until well combined. Set aside.
- Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and rind until light and fluffy. Add the gelatine mixture, and beat until well combined. Fold in the whipped cream.
- Pour onto the biscuit base and smooth surface. Spoon the blood orange curd on top, and use a skewer to create a marbled effect.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- Remove from pan, slice and serve.
What about you? Have you ever tried blood oranges? (A big thankyou to Red Belly Citrus for gifting me with these blood oranges, and inviting me to create some recipes!)