Radical Gardens draws people from across their region for their food and their creative desserts and cakes. For those of us who live far away from their Timmins location, we can now enjoy this incredible cheesecake at home.
Cheesecakes are incredibly versatile desserts and can be made with sweet or savoury flavour profiles. In our opinion, the best cheesecakes offer a layered flavour experience, introducing new, complementary flavours in every bite. Brianna and Steve from Radical Gardens recommend smoking this cheesecake as a finishing touch. “We’re really enjoying mesquite, but feel free to use what you have available!”
Ontario cream cheese is readily available in grocery stores and is the perfect base for a whiskey flavour infusion. Ontario small-batch distillers now offer a wide range of whiskies to bring this cheesecake to life!
*Chef’s note: You will need a water bath to make the cheesecake.
Make the cheesecake…
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
In a small pan, melt butter and combine with cookie crumbs; press into 8-inch springform pan and bake in oven until solid and toasted. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C). Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix cream cheese and sugar until nicely creamed and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl and paddle multiple times while creaming. Makesure to get all lumps.
Add heavy cream, vanilla and flour and continue to cream together. Add eggs, one at a time, until all eggs are incorporated, making sure not to overbeat.
Separate the cheesecake filling into two bowls. Add cherries to one and orange zest to the other with 1 tbsp of whiskey per bowl. GENTLY fold everything together in their separate bowls. Do not overmix.
Pour the contents of the bowl with cherry filling straight into the springform pan, then spoon in the orange zest mixture in random dollops into the same springform pan. Use a butter knife to gently swirl them together.
Wrap the springform pan in tin foil so your water bath doesn’t leak in.
Make a waterbath by heating water in a kettle to add to a large (must be large enough to fit your springform pan), ovensafe baking dish. Set the foil-wrapped cheesecake inside, then slowly pour in heated water from the kettle, taking care not to splash water in your cake mixture.
Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 225°F (107°C) to bake about 60 minutes more or until the centre of the cheesecake is jiggly but set and springs back when you push it slightly.
Let cool 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight.
Chef’s tip: Smoke the cheesecake (optional, but delicious)…
Set up your smoker (preferably a cold smoker) OR use a handheld smoker and a dome. Smoke cheesecake for about 5-10 minutes.
Make the cherry topping…
Combine cherries, lemon juice, zest, and sugar in saucepan and cook at medium heat.
Combine water and cornstarch in a cup and whisk until combined, then add to saucepan.
Let thicken for about 6-8 min on medium, then remove from heat and let cool; set aside. Reserve ¾ cup for your cheesecake and use the rest to make some pies!
Finish the cheesecake…
Drizzle cherry topping over cheesecake and serve.
Level it up with a dollop of whiskey chocolate buttercream and a maraschino cherry.