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Sunday, January 18, 2009

ORANGE CHEESECAKE

Ingredients:
* 1-3/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 22 crackers)
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 6 tablespoons butter, melted
* 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
* 1-1/3 cups sugar
* 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 3 eggs, slightly beaten
* 1-1/2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
* 1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* Orange peel strips and sliced and/or whole kumquats (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For the crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham crackers and the 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom and 1 to 2 inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing filling.

2. For the filling: In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, the 1-1/3 cups sugar, the orange juice concentrate, and the 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in eggs and orange peel just until combined.

3. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a 2-1/2-inch-wide area around the outside edge appears set when gently shaken. Remove springform pan from oven and set on a wire rack.

4. Meanwhile, stir together sour cream, the 1 tablespoon sugar, and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Carefully spread sour cream mixture over the hot cheesecake.

5. Cool in springform pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small thin knife, loosen crust from side of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove side of the pan. Cool for 2 hours. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

6. If desired, garnish cheesecake with orange peel strips and kumquats.

Makes 12 to 16 servings

To bake ahead: Transfer cooled cheesecake (whole or pieces) to a freezer bag; seal. Freeze whole cheesecake for up to 1 month or pieces for up to 2 weeks. Thaw whole ccheeseake in the refrigerator overnight or pieces at room temperature for 30 minutes.

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