Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake

We recently attended a party to which everyone contributed a dish. Mine was Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake. I couldn’t decide on a crust: I could play it safe and stick with the old favorite of chocolate crumbs (which, in fact, I did), or go hog-wild, abandoning
Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake.
convention to make a gingersnap crust (which, in fact, I didn’t). Shoulda-woulda-coulda: I find myself wishing I’d made the ginger crust, for more of a gingery taste.
 To settle my mind, this recipe includes both crusts - one chocolate, the other, ginger. Covered, each freezes up to 1 month. Well wrapped in its baking pan and left undecorated, cheesecake also freezes well. Good to know!

Chocolate-Ginger Cheesecake:

To Prepare the Chocolate Crumb Crust:

1-½ c. chocolate baking crumbs
¼ c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. instant coffee powder
Just under ⅓ c. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Spray grease a 9-in. spring-form pan. Combine crumbs, sugar, and coffee powder, mixing well. Add melted butter, continuing to stir until mixture glistens, with no remaining dry spots. Press evenly onto bottom of spray-greased 9-in. spring-form pan, pressing mixture halfway up the sides. Don’t rush this step! The care and attention you lavish on the crust will pay big dividends in the appearance of the finished cheesecake. Bake 10 min. Cool to room temperature before chilling in fridge or freezer.

To Prepare the Ginger Crumb Crust:

½ c. slivered almonds
2 c. crumbled, plain gingersnap cookies
½ c. unsalted butter, melted

With steel blade of food processor, whirl almonds until finely chopped. Add gingersnaps, processing until finely crumbed. Pour in butter, processing until mixture glistens, with no dry spots. Press evenly onto bottom of spray-greased 9-in. spring-form pan, pressing mixture 1-to-2 in. up the sides. Take care with this step. Chill in fridge or freezer 30 min. or longer. 

To Prepare the Cheesecake Filling:

32 oz. (1 kg) brick-style cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1-½ c. granulated sugar (see Note)
3 or four large pieces crystalline sugared ginger
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 c. full-fat dairy sour cream
8 oz. (eight 1-oz. squares totaling 250 g) bitter-sweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. Using electric mixer with large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain. Chop sugared ginger into small slivers about ½-in. long and ¼-in. wide. Stir into cream cheese mixture with vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in sour cream.
Stir in chocolate gradually, until
no white color remains.
In heat-proof glass bowl, partially melt chopped chocolate 2-to-3 min. on medium power of microwave oven. Cool to room temperature before adding to cream cheese mixture, stirring until fully mixed and no white color remains.

Pour filling into crust, baking 60 min. or just until set. Turn oven off but do not open door. Allow cheesecake to remain in turned-off oven a further hour. Remove from oven, allowing cheesecake to cool on wire rack about 45 min. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Leave in pan until completely cooled. Cover loosely before refrigerating overnight or double-wrap and place in airtight container to freeze up to 1 month. 
Pour into crumb crust.

Undo spring clip to ease cheesecake from pan. Carefully slide a three-piece metal spatula between crumb crust and detached base of pan. 

Three-piece spatula: Useful to transfer cakes to plates.

Transfer cheesecake to pedestal dish or other decorative plate. Gently remove spatula from its position between crumb crust and plate. Decorate chilled cheesecake as desiredI used a star tip and cream-filled pastry bag to quickly form rosettes around the cheesecake, pressing chocolate-covered ginger into this simple  design. 

A sample is ample! This rich, creamy cheesecake serves 12.

Note: Boost your cheesecakes ginger flavor with Ginger Sugar. Add small chunks of peeled, fresh ginger to the amount of granulated sugar your recipe requires, letting it sit in a covered container for 12-to-24 hr., stirring or shaking occasionally.

Tomorrow: Oatmeal Shortbread.

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