I was recently wandering the aisles of my favorite food stop, Trader Joes, when I spied a popular Christmas time treat. Panattone. Last year I spotted the very same bread at the very same store, but neglected to buy it each and every time I was there thinking I’d hold off until the following shopping week.
I think you know where this is headed.
I waited and waited and when I was finally ready to take the plunge, they were gone for the season. Nevermind that it was the week before Christmas and I had hoped to make panettone french toast for my visiting family. Nevermind that for me, the season didn’t end for at least another week or two. They were all gone. Period. I finally tracked a few down at my local Homegoods store (another favorite shopping stop of mine) and Christmas morning breakfast was saved.
This year I’m not making the same mistake. I stocked up on the fruit studded bread and plan on munching panettone until I can munch no more. While I’m still looking forward to a Christmas morning filled with french toast and red velvet waffles (my pink loving five year old insists), this year I felt the desire to try something a bit different with my coveted loaf of Christmas bread. My mother in law loves cheesecake and heaven knows I love making it, so I put two and two together and the orange panettone cheesecake was conceived.
Let me just say, if you like cheesecake, even just a little, this one’s a beaut. The added hints of orange give the dairy filled delight a flavor reminiscent of orange and vanilla creamsicles. Add the fruity sweet taste of the panettone crust to the mix and I’ll solemnly swear that this is the best dang cheesecake I’ve ever had the privilege of concocting.
I’m certain this will be gracing your holiday table so let’s push forward with a few quick instructions.
In order to make the panettone crust, you’ll first need to dry out and mulch up your bread. Using half the loaf, break it up into rough chunks on a cookie sheet and let it crumb up in the oven for about an hour at low heat. You can toss it once during that time to get the bottoms of the chunks up and drying as well if you desire.
Once the bread is good and crumbly, take it for a few swirls in your food processor. You should have approximately 21/2 cups of crumbs.
Add a bit of melted butter to the crumbs and push the mixture into the bottom of a greased up springform pan.
Set that to the side and we’ll move on with the filling. Begin by creaming together a copious amount of room temperature cream cheese with a heaping cupful of sugar.
Mix in a little milk and vanilla along with some orange zest, juice and liqueur.
Time for the eggs. Grab them up, one and a time, and stir them in until just mixed.
Finish it up with an addition of sour cream and a healthy pinch of flour. Pour your batter into the prepared springform pan and get ready to cook it up.
And in case you’re curious about the candied oranges on the side of the plate, I can’t rightfully claim them as my own. I found the recipe HERE and I have to say it worked perfectly.
Seriously now. Tell me that slice of cheesecake doesn’t call to you. Aren’t the holidays grand?
Orange Panettone Cheesecake
Yield: 1 Cheesecake (approximately 8 slices)
Total Time: 4 hour 30 min
1/2 Loaf (about a 1/2 pound) Panettone
4 Tbsp Melted butter
4 8 Oz. Bars Cream Cheese, at room temperature
11/2 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cup Milk
1 Tbsp Vanilla
11/2 Tbsp Orange Zest (the zest from one orange)
1 Orange, Juiced (about 3 Tbsp to 1/4 cup)
2 Tbsp Orange Liqueur
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Flour
Grab up your panettone and break it into rough chunks. Spread the chunks out on a baking sheet and cook in a 220 degree oven for about an hour, flipping once, until toasted through.
Dump the chunks into a food processor and swirl to create crumbs.
Add the melted butter to the crumbs.
Spread and pat the crumb mixture into the the bottom of a greased 9" round springform pan.
Using a mixer, cream together the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth.
Add in the milk and vanilla.
Add in the zest, juice and liqueur and swirl to combine.
Break in the eggs, one at a time, just incorporating before each addition.
Stir in the sour cream and the flour.
Pour the mixture into your springform pan and slide it into the oven at 350 degrees. Place a baking dish filled with water on the shelf underneath the cheesecake to prevent cracking.
After 20 minutes at 350 degrees, turn the oven down to 300 degrees and continue cooking the cheesecake for another 40 minutes.
After the 40 minutes are up, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake to sit in the closed oven for the next 2-3 hours. This will allow the cheesecake to cool slowly and further prevent cracking.