Honey Orange Cheesecake (Melopita)

I say, New York is home to the original cheesecake. You say, not so fast! Cheesecake was served thousands of years ago by the ancient Greeks to provide their athletes extra energy, especially for the 26.2 mile run from Marathon to Athens. Lighter than the New York iteration, Melopita is a delicious treat that historically was also a type of wedding cake made by the bride to establish her “worthiness” to participate in a marathon of a different kind.

Melopita – Orange Flavored Honey Cheesecake

This light dessert recipe is the traditional version from Greece. A crust may be added to the bottom for a more modern take. To get maximum flavor, drizzle the hot syrup made of honey, fresh orange juice, and lemon juice over the cooled cake just before serving. If you can let the cake sit a few hours before serving, the flavors will become more intense. Even better, let it sit in in the refrigerator for a few days until ready to serve.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • 9-inch round baking pan
  • Hand or stand mixer
  • Baking rack

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Ricotta cheese (Myzithra cheese, if available)
  • 5 large Eggs
  • cup Greek citrus honey
  • 1 tbsp Orange zest
  • Juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Semolina flour, fine (or all-purpose flour)

Instructions

  • Put cheese in a mixer and break it up into smaller pieces. Add eggs 1 at a time with mixer running until everything becomes smooth. Mix in 1 cup honey. Add zests, ½ tsp cinnamon, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix on high speed to combine everything and make mixture smooth and creamy.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9-inch round baking pan with butter and sprinkle flour over. Scoop the cheese mixture into the pan and flatten out the top. Bake until golden brown on the top and the middle no longer "jiggles", about 45 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack and run a sharp knife around the sides. Let cake cool.
  • While cake is cooling, heat ½ cup honey, and the juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon in a small saucepan. Transfer cooled cake from the baking pan to a serving tray. Poke a few holes across the top and pour the warm honey over the cake. Dust with cinnamon and serve.

Notes

  • To bake with a crust under cake, either buy one at the market or make one using a favorite recipe. Bake times will be the same.
  • Pistachio nuts or slivered almonds may be added to honey topping during cooking. 

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