When my friend Irina returned from a trip to Vienna, she shared with me many stories about the beautiful architecture of the city, old buildings, museums and especially the magnificent Opera Theatre; she also couldn’t stop talking about all the Viennese pastries, cakes, pies and strudels she indulged.
Irina also mentioned that she sampled and was very impressed by cakes and pastries, which were topped or had a layer or two of different flavored jell-o.
All Irina’s stories inspired me to try topping one of my favorite Cheesecakes with Orange Jell-O.
This original and beautiful dessert will be equally delicious with blood oranges, lemon or lime jell -o.
For the Crust
• 1/2 cup powdered sugar
• 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 extra large egg yolk
• 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
For the Cheesecake and Orange-Jell-O
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
• 1 1/2 pounds full fat, fresh ricotta cheese, well drained
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set rack in the middle of the oven.
Butter a 9-by-2-inch round Pyrex baking dish. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
To make the crust: Blend powdered sugar, almonds, and salt in processor until nuts are finely ground. Reserve two generous tablespoons of this mixture in a small bowl for later.
Add butter and blend until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl.
Mix in egg yolk; add the flour. Pulls until dough comes together in clumps. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours.
Roll out chilled dough on a floured sheet of parchment paper to a 12-inch in diameter round. Using paper as an aid, turn out the dough into the baking dish. If needed, seal any cracks in dough with your fingertips.
Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork, sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of the reserved almond, powdered sugar and salt mixture. Freeze crust for about 10 minute before filling and baking.
To make the Cheesecake filling: In a medium bowl, sift sugar and flour.
In a large bowl, combine ricotta and zest and whisk until smooth. Add sugar and flour mixture and gently mix to combine.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla and salt and give it another good mix; Then pour batter into the chilled crust.
Bake for 15 minutes; then lower to 325 degrees and bake for about 45 more minutes, until a light golden color. Make sure the center is fairly firm and the point of a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator until chilled, at least for 2 hours.
To make the Orange-Jell-O: In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup orange juice, let stand for 5 minutes until bloomed. In a small pan heat the remaining 1 cup orange juice and sugar until starts to simmer.
Remove from heat, add the bloomed gelatin and mix well until completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature and then poor over the chilled Cheesecake. Decorate with orange segments. Return to refrigerator; chill until the Jell-O is set.