Crystallized Ginger Cheesecake

Crystallized Ginger Cheesecake

For crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For filling:

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

For topping:

16 ounces sour cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

To prepare crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together crumbs, ground ginger and butter. Pat into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Surround the pan with foil (to catch any drips in the oven).

To prepare filling: Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. On medium-low speed, beat in vanilla, then sugar, then crystallized ginger, then fresh ginger. Incorporate each ingredient and scrape down the bowl before adding the next.

Pour the filling into the springform pan, making sure the crystallized ginger is evenly distributed. Bake on the middle oven rack for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges, but the center is still slightly wobbly when the pan is gently shaken. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Leave the oven on.

To prepare topping: Stir together sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Drop spoonfuls of topping around the edge of the cake; spread gently over the entire cake, smoothing evenly. Return to the oven; bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then run a thin spatula or flexible knife between the side of the cake and the pan. Chill until cold, then remove the sides of the pan and serve.

Yield: 12 servings.

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