Blood Orange Curd Cheesecake Bars
One of my all time favorite desserts: Blood Orange Curd Cheesecake Bars! This is a recipe that’s quite easy to make but will certainly impress anyone you serve it to! Not only is it a beautiful dessert with layers that dazzle the eye, but it’s also absolutely delicious!
This cheesecake is so incredibly creamy and just sweet enough without being too sweet. With the addition of a rich yet light and sharp blood orange curd, it balances out the flavors oh so perfectly! Finished off with a classic graham cracker crust, this dessert is definitely one you have to bring to your next dinner party! I topped mine off with a brûlée’d slice of blood orange for fun, but you can serve it as is!
What Is Blood Orange Curd
You’ve probably already heard all about lemon curd, but did you know that you could pretty much turn any fruit into a curd? One of my all time favorite things to make during the winter months is any citrus curd! During blood orange season, though, I make SO many batches of blood orange curd because it’s just TOO good! Plus, that color is absolutely beautiful!
Blood orange curd, like lemon curd, is made by combining blood orange and lemon juice, the zests of both fruits, sugar, eggs + extra yolks, butter, and sometimes, a little cornstarch. Some people like to cook this over a double boiler, but I like to keep things simple by whisking all the ingredients (except the butter) together in a medium saucepan and cooking it slowly over a low heat to prevent the eggs from scrambling. The mixture slowly thickens into a silky curd. In goes the butter, whisk whisk whisk! You’re left with a smooth and rich curd that is perfectly sweet and sharp!
Tips For Making the Best Cheesecake
- Use room temperature ingredients: most importantly, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. It will be much easier to mix into a creamy consistency without having to over mix your batter. The mixture will come together much ore quickly.
- Don’t over mix cheesecake filling: a perfect cheesecake is smooth and free of bubbles. If you over mix your batter, you may introduce too much air into the batter, creating bubbles and changing the consistency of the cheesecake.
- Bake in a WATER BATH: This is the best way to make sure your cheesecake is evenly cooked consistency every time.
Is Baking Cheesecake In Water Bath Necessary?
YES, I always recommend baking classic cheesecakes in a water bath! I’ve tried many times to avoid having to use a water bath, but my cheesecake would always come out less than ideal! The top of the cake with catch and turn golden brown, the cheesecake would cook unevenly– sloshy middle with overcooked edges. And worse of all, I would get a huge crack right down the middle of my cheesecake!
With a water bath, my cheesecakes come out perfectly smooth and even on top. The entire cheesecake is evenly baked and super creamy and silky with zero cracks!
How to Prevent Leaks and What Pan to Use
- SKIP THE SPRINGFORM PAN: In this recipe, we’re using an 8×8 inch square baking pan, but if you were considering making ANY cheesecake, or even this cheesecake into a round shape, I would not recommend using a springform pan. I’ve used them so many times in the past, taking so much time to prep the outside of the pan with THREE layers of XL aluminum foil to prevent leaks during baking with the water bath. Not only was this a waste of foil and time, but most of the time I was still worried about possible leaks! When I want to bake a round cheesecake, I instead, use a regular round cake pan that’s at least 3 inches tall. I just prep the inside with a bit of parchment paper so I can lift the baked cheesecake out!
- Use a roasting pan for your water bath: Roasting pans are often quite large and tall enough to safely hold water AND fit your baking pan! They’re perfect for water baths!
Make Ahead Tips
- Make blood orange curd up to a week in advance— covered and kept in fridge. Take it out of the fridge to let come to room temperature before starting baking the cheesecake so it’s not so cold when adding to cheesecake to bake!
- The entire cheesecake can be made a few days in advance, completely cooled, covered, and chilling in fridge until you need to serve!
What You’ll Need
- Medium heavy bottomed saucepan
- Fine mesh sieve
- Stand Mixer or hand mixer
- 8×8 Inch baking pan
- Large roasting pan
- Parchment Paper
Ingredients for Blood Orange Curd Cheesecake Bars
- Blood oranges
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Graham crackers
- Cream Cheese
- Sour cream
- Heavy whipping cream
- Pure Vanilla Extract
How to Make Blood Orange Curd Cheesecake Bars
- Make Blood Orange Curd: Whisk ingredients in heavy bottomed medium saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened.
- Bake Cheesecake Crust: Combine crust ingredients in a bowl mixing well. Press the crust into the bottom of a parchment paper lined 8×8 inch baking pan and bake for 10 minutes.
- Prepare Cheesecake Filling: Mix together cream cheese and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time, followed by sour cream, then heavy cream and vanilla.
- Bake Cheesecake In Water Bath: Pour filling into baked crust and place into roasting pan. Place entire thing into the oven, then carefully pour just boiled water into the roasting pan.
- Add Blood Orange Curd, Bake, and Cool: Pour Blood Orange curd on top of baked cheesecake and let bake until set. Leave cheesecake in oven with turned off oven and cracked open door to cool gradually. Remove from oven and chill in fridge for at least 4-6 hours before serving!
Rich and bright citrus flavors meet perfectly creamy texture in these perfectly easy to make blood orange curd cheesecake bars!
blood orange curd
- 1/2 cup (120g) fresh blood orange juice + zest
- 1/4 cup (60g) fresh lemon juice (reserve 1 tablespoon on the side) + zest
- 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, cubed
for cheesecake crust
- 10 whole graham crackers, crushed
- 1 tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, melted
for cheesecake filling
- 2 bricks (450g) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup (80g) sour cream
- 1/4 cup (60g) heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Make the Blood Orange Curd
- Add the granulated sugar and blood orange and lemon zest to a medium saucepan. Rub the zest into the granulated sugar to release the oils. Add in the blood orange and lemon juices, and eggs and yolks. Whisk together well and place over medium low heat. Whisk constantly, lowering the heat to low after a few minutes. Continue whisking while cooking the curd until it's reached 170°F and can coat the back of a spoon.
- Mix the reserved tablespoon of lemon juice with the cornstarch in a small bowl to create a slurry. Stream it into the curd while whisking. Cook for a few more minutes until further thickened.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the butter until melted. Pour into a jar or bowl and set aside to cool.
Make Cheesecake Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together crushed graham crackers, sugar, and butter until well combined. Press the crust into the baking pan evenly and bake for 10 minutes.
Make Cheesecake Filling
- While the crust is baking, put a medium pot of water to boil and then prep the filling.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Beat in sour cream, and then heavy cream and vanilla extract. Don't incorporate too much air into the mixture. Just mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
Bake Cheesecake in Water Bath
- Pour cheesecake filling into the baking pan with the baked crust. Tap the pan into the counter a few times to get rid of large air bubbles. Place entire pan into a larger deep baking or roasting pan. Place the entire thing into the oven, and then carefully pour the just boiled water into the larger roasting pan, until the water reaches at least 1/2 way up the 8x8 pan.
- Close the oven door and reduce temperature to 325°F. Bake cheesecake for 40-50 minutes, until it's mostly set but still slightly wobbles (not sloshy). With cheesecake still in oven, slide it out slightly to pour the curd over the top of the cheesecake, carefully smoothing it out evenly. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until curd is slightly set.
- Turn off oven and crack oven the door, letting the cheesecake cool gradually for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and let cool to room temperature on the counter before covering and chilling in fridge. Chill for at least 4-6 before serving!