Blood Orange Brownie Cheesecake
I was very excited to tell you about the launch of the Australian Blood Orange season in my last post here. I love Blood Oranges. The colour alone makes them very exciting to use. I love fruits and vegetables that are not the colour you expect them to be. Some of the purple vegetables are of course my favourites as I love anything purple. Colour is the single most important sensory cue when it comes to eating, and unusual coloured fruit and vegetables often throw our tastebuds.
There’s no need to worry about the flavour of blood oranges though. They are completely delicious and can be eaten as is, as well as in cooking, savoury and sweet.
Growing blood oranges is not so easy. They need the right soil and temperature, or terroir, just like grapes. The reason why we don’t see blood oranges year-round is partly due to the degree of difficulty in growing them. A blood orange is red because of the anthocyanins that are produced in the flesh. That colour depends on temperature variations of hot days and freezing nights. In Australia the perfect place for this is in the south Western part of New South Wales in the Riverina area. The variations in temperature cause stress on the tree which forces it to develop the anthocyanins that give them their colour.
It was once agreed that the best blood oranges in the world were from Sicily, where incidentally this story began. Redbelly Citrus came to life as family members of the original families that settled here from Sicily decided to bring a piece of Italy here to Australia. Brothers Leonard and Anthony Mancini as well as cousin Vito Mancini purchased property North of Griffith to develop their dreams of growing the perfect blood orange for Australia. That, is now rich history. They are now developing syrups, marmalade and juices as well as producing some of Australia’s best fruit.
It just so happened that I was planning to make this brownie cheesecake slice, so I incorporated Blood Orange and it is just perfect heaven. The cheesecake topping is designed to be served at room temperature, so will soften and become very creamy, while the brownie will also taste far better when it is soft and choclate-y, don’t serve cold. It’s clever really, it works perfectly. I’ve popped a few maltezers onto the top to add some texture to each slice but you can leave them off if you like.
The size of the cake tin I used is below. Make sure you line it with plenty over-hanging paper to make it easy to get out after running a knife around the outside. Always slice your brownie cheesecake with a warm clean knife while it is cold and then leave to come to room temperature.
- 125 gm butter chopped into pieces
- 180 gm chocolate 70% or dark chopped
- 200 gm caster sugar (1 cup)
- 80 gm brown sugar (1/2 cup)
- 3 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 150 gm plain flour (1 cup)
- 1 blood orange, Zest of ( Use this one + another for the salad for the salad)
- 500 gm cream cheese
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 60 ml lemon juice (3 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 250 ml cream (1 cup)
- 150 gm Maltezers ( 1 pkt, optional)
- 250 ml blood orange juice- approximately 3 oranges (1 cup )
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 2 oranges extra peeled and segmented
- Set the oven to 180 C / 350 F . You'll need a square cake tin 23 cm x 23 cm (9 inx 9 in) sprayed and paper lined with lots of overhang
- Melt the butter and the zest in a saucepan over a low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate stirring till melted.
- Add the two kinds of sugar and stir well to mix in. Cool a little before stirring in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the flour until the batter is smooth.
- Pour into the papered cake tin and bake for 15 minutes before checking. The brownie should be just firm to touch, not hard just done. If it is still soft give it an extra 5 minutes. Put onto a cake rack to cool while you make the cheesecake
- Turn the oven down to 160 C / 320 F non fan forced.
- Put the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, cream and eggs into a food processor and mix till well combined, scraping down the sides to incorporate everything.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture over the brownie base. Push the Maltezers into the top of the cheesecake if you like.
- Return the brownie to the oven for 20 minutes. The cheesecake should be set with just the slightest wobble left. 30 minutes TOTAL should be enough
- Chill the slice overnight or till cold.
- Put the juice and the extra 50 gm of sugar into a small pot and simmer till reduced by half. Chill till cold.
- Peel and segment the oranges. Serve the syrup drizzled over the cheesecake and the fresh oranges