Sunday, December 28, 2014

Ginger Cheesecake

I have a new love. For years I've been true to Susan Mendelsohn's Lemon Cheesecake, but this year I saw Mary Berry bake a white chocolate and ginger cheesecake. It was love at first sight, and with a few tweeks, I made it as dessert for our Christmas meal. The general consensus was that it was one of the best cakes we've ever had, so you are forewarned!

This recipe is for a 20 cm spring-form pan, which I don't have. Instead I made it in an 18 cm pan, and used the extra to make a 10 cm tart.

If you have leftovers you will notice that the ginger flavour gets more pronounced after a day or two. I baked it on Christmas Eve and served it Christmas Day and the balance between ginger and white chocolate was perfect then.

Ginger Cheesecake

Based on a recipe by Mary Berry, I didn't use chocolate in the crust or decorations, Instead, I added dry ginger and ginger syrup in the crust, and increased the amount of stem ginger in the cheesecake itself. If you have access to ginger snaps, you could try using those for the base instead of digestive biscuits.

I had the oven a bit too hot with the result that the cheesecake browned a bit at the edges. Surprisingly, it didn't crack, but to produce a more attractive finish, I whipped some cream cheese and ginger syrup and spread that over the top before finishing it off with slices of stem ginger.

For the base
150 grams  digestive biscuits (or ginger snaps)
50 grams softened butter, plus extra for greasing
30 ml ginger syrup

1/2 tsp ground ginger

For the filling
300 grams white chocolate
330 grams  cream cheese
150 ml  sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 pieces of stem ginger (in syrup), finely chopped

For the decoration
100 grams cream cheese
30 ml ginger syrup
1 tablespoon fine sugar
2 balls of stem ginger, sliced
pearl sugar

  1. Grease the base of a 20cm/8in spring-form pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  2. Put the digestive cookies in a plastic bag and beat with a rolling pin to crush them, then add the 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger. (If you uses ginger snaps, don't add the ginger.)
  3. Mix in the softened butter and ginger syrup. I find it easiest to use my hands.
  4. Add the crumb mixture to the cake pan and press into the bottom with your fingers to make an even layer. Chill in the fridge for a half hour or so.
  5. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F while you make the filling.
  6. Break the white chocolate into pieces and melt them in a microwave oven or in a bain-marie (a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water, without touching the water), stirring occasionally.
  7. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sour cream together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until smooth, then stir in the melted white chocolate. Fold in the chopped ginger.
  8. Pour the mixture onto the crumb base in the spring-form pan and spread out evenly. 
  9. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until firm around the edge and just set in the middle.
  10. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes, before loosening with a knife and releasing the spring. Let cool completely, then chill in the fridge.
  11. For the decoration, mix the cream cheese, syrup, and sugar until smooth, then spread over the top of the cheesecake. Thinly slice the ginger balls and arrange attractively around the edges and center of the cheesecake. If you can find it, at a piece of pearl sugar or other type of decoration to the slices.

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