Blood orange mini cheesecakes with shortbread-almond crust

I love cheesecake and have been experimenting with different variants of this Cooks.com eggless cheesecake recipe for years. In the fall, I make it with pumpkin purée and ginger snap crust, and in warm weather, I love it with fresh berries or citrus.

This delicious variant has fresh zest, juice, and actual segments of blood orange! The slight bitterness of the oranges is a nice counterbalance to the creamy tanginess of the cheesecake. Even if you’re a dessert person, these might win you over; they’re not too sweet.

The key with these is to use 1-2 week old oranges so they’re not too juicy. If you have fresh oranges, make sure to place the orange segments on paper towels to drain some excess juice first. If it’s not blood orange season, you could try these with regular oranges or even grapefruit.

This time around, I made 10 mini cheesecakes instead of 1 large one because I only had 1 packet of cream cheese at home.

Tips on baking eggless cheesecake

  • Add 1/3-1/2 a teaspoon of cornstarch or flour for every 8 ounces of cream cheese you use. Use 1/3 if you’re making plain cheesecake and 1/2 if you’re using extra liquid like lemon or orange juice or a purée like pumpkin. Eggs typically act as a binding agent in cheesecake. Adding cornstarch or flour will give you a similar effect and help hold the cheesecake together.
  • Don’t overwhip your cheesecake. Having extra air in your cheesecake will make it rise and then fall, leaving behind a dent. Use room temperature ingredients so they blend more easily, and use the paddle attachment in your stand mixer, not the whip.
  • Cool your cheesecake slowly and in stages. When the tops are firm but the cheesecake is still jiggly, turn the oven off and wait 10 minutes. Then crack open the door and let the cheesecake cool another 15-20 minutes. Then cool at room temperature for 10 minutes and then move to the fridge.
  • If you don’t have graham cracker crumbs for the crust, you can use shortbread, gingersnaps, or other cookies and crush them in a food processor. In a pinch, you can sub in some nut flour, as I did here. For a full cheesecake, you’ll need about 1.5 cups of crumbs, 5 tablespoons of butter, and 1/3 cup of sugar. For 10 mini cheesecakes, you can half these amounts.

Ingredients – crust

  • 8 shortbread cookies
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Ingredients – cheesecake

  • 8 ounce packet of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons blood orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • 1-4 cup blood orange segments, roughly chopped

Ingredients – toppings

  • 1 blood orange, sliced into 10 thin slices
  • 1 tablespoon marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with 10 cupcake liners.
  2. In a food processor, crush cookies. Then add in butter, almond flour, and sugar until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Distribute mixture among cupcake liners and press down using a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool.
  4. In the meantime, combine cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, orange zest, and juice in a large stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix at medium speed until ingredients are combined. Gently fold in orange segments.
  5. Using a large tablespoon, evenly distribute cheesecake mixture among cupcake liners. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until tops are firm and inside is still jiggly.
  6. Turn off oven and cool for 10 minutes with oven door shut. Open door, then cool for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on countertop for 20 minutes. Chill in fridge for at least 3 hours, but ideally overnight.
  7. Make glaze by heating marmalade and 1 tablespoon water in small saucepan. Top each mini cheesecake with orange slice and spoon of marmalade glaze. Serve.

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