Monday, December 31, 2012

Catalan Cream Cheesecake

6 TBS butter, softened
1 c. flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp dried orange peel
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground coriander

4 - 8oz packages of Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1 & 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp dried orange peel
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS cold whipping cream
2 tsp pure vanilla
4 large eggs
2 TBS fresh orange juice

4 TBS granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Place one rack on bottom level, one in center. Lightly butter a 9-in. springform pan. Place on a double thickness square of heavy-duty foil. Securely wrap foil around bottom & sides (about 1/4 inch up) of pan.

In a small mixing bowl, soften butter (do NOT melt); add the flour, sugar, orange peel, cinnamon & coriander; mix on medium speed until crumbly. Gently press onto the bottom of prepared springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven & set to cool slightly on wire rack.

Pour water into an 8-inch metal pie pan until half full. Place on bottom rack of oven after baked crust is removed. (This will keep the cheesecake from cracking when it bakes.)

In a large electric mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth & creamy. Add flour, orange peel, cinnamon, whipping cream & vanilla; beat until well combined & smooth. Add eggs one at a time; beating on low speed of mixer until well blended. Add orange juice & mix on low speed until smooth.

Gently pour cheesecake batter over warm crust. Place springform pan on center rack of oven. Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears evenly dull. The top of the cheesecake should be at an even height & turning just lightly golden around the edges.

Remove cheesecake from oven & set on a wire rack to cool. Loosen sides from pan with a sharp knife; cool 1-1/2 hours.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

Release cheesecake from springform & set on serving plate. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over top of cheesecake. Hold kitchen torch so that flame is 2 inches above surface. Direct flame so that sugar melts and caramelizes evenly, about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the sugar. Allow topping to cool; cut with sharp knife.

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