A Leftover Dessert Invention

The crust is tasty

The crust is tasty

The night before Valentine’s Day my wife rolled over and stated that she would really like some sort of cheesecake for dessert. Not really awake and thinking the refrigerator was well stocked I agreed.

The next morning I had a dilemma. It seemed that most of the cream cheese had been used a few days before for some sort of brownie and all that was left was one stick. So that meant individual servings, still romantic and fun.

This of course meant a graham cracker crust instead of pie dough. A quick survey of the pantry showed we happened to be out of that particular premade dessert. Luckily there were still 8 amaretto cookies left for espresso. (Time to buy more).

Now all I needed was a pack of cupcake wrappers and everything would be good to go. A long search of the kitchen yielded none and I remembered that we gave the remaining bunch away to a friend who had a birthday party for their 4-year-old 2 months ago.

At this point it was looking like a trip to the grocery store was in order.

But that would be easy and I was feeling a bit masochistic.

Below is probably one of the best cheesecakes I have had without ricotta in it. The ratio is for two 4-ounce ramekins. Increase however you want, or take the concept and run with it.

Orange Cheesecake with Cranberry Jelly


  • 8 amaretto cookies crushed to a powder
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest


  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier


  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups frozen cranberries

In a 4-ounce ramekin melt one tablespoon butter. Swirl it around to coat the container then pour into the second ramekin. Swirl it around in the second container, then pour remaining butter into crushed cookies and orange zest. Mix well then take crust mixture and press equally into the base of each ramekin. Use your finger to pack the cookie crust firmly.  Make filling. In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese, butter and sugar. Whip until creamy, about three minutes. Scrap down sides and add egg. Beat again until incorporated.  Add liquor and mix again. Pour mixture evenly into ramekins up to the top. Place ramekins in a larger baking dish and fill with 1/4″ water. Steam custard in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until set, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 1 hour. Make topping. In a sauce pan combine all ingredients for cranberry topping over high heat. When at a boil crush berries with a masher and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until thick. Spoon topping over custard evenly and place in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours. Serve with espresso.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Dessert, Italian, Recipes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to A Leftover Dessert Invention

  1. Good job creating something gorgeous out of scraps. Proof that you are a good cook. Is America’s next top chef in your future?

  2. Now THAT is true love! My husband would think I was still asleep and dreaming, lol. What a talented baker, pulling this from a cupboard in no time! I’d go pick up the groceries just to make it:)

  3. I loved reading your thought process. You were very creative with what you had on hand and I love the end result!

  4. Well done on creating a grand dessert without leaving the house to buy anything.
    🙂 Mandy

  5. eschof2 says:

    I’m guessing you did a good job because the picture looks delicious!

  6. Bravo! A great small-bite recipe, with proper proportions…extra points for the use of cute Pyrex, of course!

  7. sallybr says:

    Amazing! I always admire cooks who can improvise and go with the flow.. I am a wimp by comparison… but trying little by little to stretch my abilities.

    beautiful job, real proof of love! 😉

  8. Eva Taylor says:

    It is often that these pantry desserts (or anything, for that matter) are the best! I’d it because we have no expectations? The colour of the topping is excellent and the flavours sound spot on.

  9. Mad Dog says:

    Nice improvisation 😉

  10. what a great idea!! these sound so good 🙂

  11. ChgoJohn says:

    This is a great creation, Greg! That cranberry topping makes it for me.

  12. Bernice says:

    I love the ingredients – sounds and looks wonderful!

  13. I agree with you that runs to the grocery store are cheating — and look what you managed to make with what you had on hand.

  14. What a sweet well thought out and inventive dessert. Very pretty.

  15. I have half a plat of strawberry in the fridge. Do you think they would be an easy substitute?

  16. egg me on says:

    How did I miss this?! What a great improvised cheesecake recipe. I’m sure Katherine loved it.

  17. Lauren says:

    Nice improvisation! I think individual servings are more romantic anyway… but maybe that’s just because I don’t like to share.

  18. Purely.. Kay says:

    Orange cheesecake? Ohhh I’m in. I’m totally in!

  19. Dessert innovation! I love it! These look so good.

  20. Pingback: Cranberry Quick Bread | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  21. Kristy says:

    Oh wow! I can’t even speak.

  22. Pingback: Sunday Suppers: Restaurant Cooking at Home | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

  23. Eva Taylor says:

    I love these random, kitchen sink recipes. I’m wondering why you buy amaretto cookies?

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