When I bought my mini cheesecake pan, I really wasn’t sure whether I would use it. There are so many pieces of baking equipment stuffed into the back of my kitchen cabinets that never see the light of day, much less feel the heat of my oven. But I have used this pan over and over, much to the delight of my friends and neighbors. I receive so many compliments on the tiny cheesecakes that I almost feel guilty because they are so quick and easy to make! The cheesecake pan came with a starter recipe but I have had a lot of fun adapting it and creating new recipes. There are oranges everywhere in Sicily right now and I can’t get enough of them! I’ve been juicing them, peeling and eating them, adding them to green salads, and now their zest brightens up my latest mini cheesecake recipe. The Grand Marnier whipped cream is an optional but very delicious addition to these little cheesecakes.
Orange Mini Cheesecakes with Grand Marnier Cream
For this recipe, you will need a mini cheesecake pan
1 C. graham cracker crumbs
2 T. brown sugar
1/3 stick melted butter
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 C. sour cream
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/3 C. sugar
finely grated zest of one orange
1 C. heavy cream
1 T. Grand Marnier
2 T. powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter with a fork until well combined.
3. Divide crumb mixture evenly between the 12 cups of your mini-cheesecake pan. Using your fingers or the back of a tablespoon, press crumbs firmly onto the bottom and partially up the sides of each cup; set aside.
4. Combine sugar and orange zest in a mini food processor and process until orange zest has been incorporated and sugar is fine (this step is optional, if you don’t have a mini processor move on to step five).
5. Using an electric mixer, blend softened cream cheese, sour cream, egg, and orange sugar together in a medium bowl. (if you skipped step 4, add both the sugar and orange zest in step 5)
6. Spoon cream cheese mixture into the twelve cups, trying to divide the mixture as evenly as possible.
7. Bake for 14 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven.
8. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool for 20 minutes then carefully remove cheesecakes from pan and let cool completely on rack.
9. Put cheesecakes in refrigerator and chill until ready to use.
10. Just before serving, combine cream (make sure it’s very cold), grand marnier and sugar in a mixing bowl and whip, using a hand whisk or electric mixer with whisk attachment, until soft peaks form.
11. Top mini cheesecakes with dollops of grand marnier cream and serve.