Around this time last year, I went to the beautiful Ojai Valley in Southern California with Melissa’s Produce to learn all about Ojai Pixie Tangerines. I shared this experience here, and it’s a great prelude to any Ojai Pixie recipe (in my humble opinion). 😉
This recipe is bursting with Pixie tangerine flavor, as it makes its way through the entire dessert — zest in the crunchy, buttery crust, zest and juice in the smooth, silky filling, and gorgeous slices sitting prettily on top.
Have I made you want to have a bite yet?
Pixie season has just begun and should last through May. Get them while you can! You can find out more about Pixies at Melissa’s Produce, and here’s a list of locations where you can find them.
- About 1½ dozen short bread cookies (to make 2 cups finely ground short bread cookie crumbs)
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
- Zest of 2 Ojai Pixie tangerines
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- Zest of 2 Ojai Pixie tangerines
- 6 tablespoons fresh Ojai Pixie tangerine juice (from about 3 tangerines)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 whole Ojai Pixie tangerines (if you've used them for zest, that's okay)
- Line 1 standard-sized (1-dozen) muffin pan with paper cups and set aside.
- Add the cookies to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and blend until you have fine crumbs. (Short bread cookies crush very easily, so if you don't have a food processor, you can put them in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag, seal it, and roll over it with a rolling pin, or pound gently with the bottom of a small sauté pan.)
- Pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the melted butter and tangerine zest. Stir until everything is evenly blended and set aside.
- Add the softened cream cheese to a medium-sized mixing bowl and mix until it's very smooth without any lumps. Then mix in the sweetened condensed milk, tangerine zest and juice, and the vanilla. Stir until it's a creamy, smooth consistency and set aside.
- Using this method to cut citrus, cut 1 dozen ¼-inch, horizontal slices of the whole tangerines.
- Place one tangerine slice in the bottom of each paper cup in the prepared muffin pan, like this:
- Evenly divide the filling amongst the paper cups, directly on top of the tangerine slices. Fill each one to about ¼ to ½-inch from the top, like this:
- Now place the muffin pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. (It should be firmed up, but still a bit soft.)
- Evenly divide the crust on top of each cheesecake, filling it so that none of the cheese mixture is visible. Use a small, flat-bottomed spatula to very gently press down each crust, smoothing it out. They should look like this:
- Place the pan back in the freezer, this time for about 2 hours.
- To remove the cheesecakes from the pan, you can either invert it on a baking sheet, or use a small, dull knife to carefully lift each one out.
- Then very slowly and gently, pull the paper cups off of each cheesecake, placing them, tangerine slice side up, on serving plates as you go. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. (They can be served frozen, semi-frozen or soft. Once they are soft, though, they don't present quite as well, and will easily fall apart as one cuts into it with their fork. My preference is when they've been defrosting for about 15 minutes -- semi-frozen. Delicious!)
Short bread cookie sizes might vary, so you might need a few more or a few less to get the 2 cups of crumbs.
If you love a graham cracker crust, you can swap them with the short bread cookies, and add a bit of sugar.