baked rhubarb and orange cheesecake

Last month, I bought a bunch of rhubarb and I had so many recipe ideas I ended up being overwhelmed. I used half the bunch to make
this rhubarb custard crumble cake, then the leftover rhubarb stayed in my fridge unused for many weeks. I eventually located the recipe for a baked rhubarb and orange cheesecake that I'd forgotten to bookmark, bought the ingredients then set to work making it.

I made a whole bunch of changes to the recipe. I've been oven roasting rhubarb for years so I used my own method plus I reduced the amount of sugar substantially. I don't like biscuit bases so I used a shortbread base and tweaked the filling a little. Making the cheesecake involved a lot of steps, so I oven roasted the rhubarb and made the base on Friday night, baked the cheesecake on Saturday, then cooled it overnight before serving the cheesecake on Sunday.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. Please note you'll need to start this recipe at least a day before serving to allow the cheesecake to cool and set. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Baked rhubarb and orange cheesecake
Oven Roasted Rhubarb
1 bunch rhubarb, stalks washed and trimmed
60-75g caster sugar
1 orange

55 grams unsalted butter
2 tbs caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup (75g) plain flour
Pinch salt

450g full-fat cream cheese
125g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp
1 tbs plain flour
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1 small orange
2 eggs
220g sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice

Oven roasted rhubarb
Preheat the oven to 200°C conventional. Cut the rhubarb stalks into 5cm lengths and place into a baking dish. Peel 3 wide strips of zest from the orange and cut them into fine slivers and scatter over the rhubarb. Grate the remaining rind and reserve for the filling.

Halve and juice the orange. Sprinkle the rhubarb with 60g of sugar and drizzle with the orange juice. Cover the dish with foil or a lid and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the rhubarb is cooked but still holds its shape. Remove the dish from the oven and allow the rhubarb to cool. Check for sweetness and add more sugar if needed. Carefully lift the rhubarb pieces out with a fish slice and store in an airtight container in the fridge, reserving the juice. Add the juices from cooled rhubarb to a small pan and simmer for 5-6 minutes over a medium heat until slightly reduced and syrupy. Leave to cool, then pour into a small jug and chill until serving time.

Meanwhile, remove the cream cheese from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Lightly grease and flour the sides of a 17 cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 170°C, conventional.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a small bowl until light and creamy. Mix in the flour and salt and combine until the mixture forms a soft dough. You can also make the dough in a food processor.

Press the mixture into the base of the spring-form tin, bringing it slightly up the sides. Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.

Increase the oven temperature to 240°C, conventional. Place the cream cheese into a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Beat in the 125g caster sugar, flour, salt and the reserved orange rind, adding the eggs, one at a time. Stir in 100g sour cream.

Pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin, bake for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 110°C conventional and bake for a further 30-35 minutes until just set but still quite wobbly in the centre. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and leave the cheesecake inside to cool for 1 hour.

Remove the cheesecake and preheat the oven to 150°C, conventional. Mix the rest of the sour cream with the remaining 1 tbsp sugar and the lemon juice. Arrange some of the drained rhubarb in a single layer over the top of the cheesecake. Spread the sour cream mixture over the top of the rhubarb, then return the cheesecake to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and leave to cool once more, then cover loosely and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

To serve, run a round-bladed knife around the sides of the tin to release the cheesecake, then carefully remove it from the tin. Drizzle over a little of the syrup, then serve cut into wedges with the remaining rhubarb and a little of the syrup spooned around.

The verdict? Absolutely delicious. Tangy rhubarb topping, softly set cheesecake on a crunchy base. I think the cheesecake by itself would be delightful and one day I'll give that a go.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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