Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ginger Cheesecake

Cheesecake is my absolute favorite dessert. There is really nothing better. The mouth feel of the sweet and creamy filling combined with the buttery crust is sensual. More than that, maybe. Is that wrong?

I have to confess that I've got a little George Costanza in me. Not with pastrami, though. With cheesecake or champagne, chocolate and chilis,
mango, and ginger.

I love ginger. The smell and the taste. The tingle that it can cause on the tongue. Ginger does tingle the tongue, but that's not all. Is this wrong?
It feels right.

So, this ginger cheesecake is no normal cheesecake. The ginger snap crust on this one takes this just a little further.

You need to use a ginger snap with a crisp flavor, with a powerful ginger taste. You'll get a little bite from it. The bite lingers on your tongue, even after you've finished each taste. Even after the smooth, sweet, and creamy filling is gone, your tongue will still be tingling. Just a bit. A delicate feeling. A delicate bite. A lingering reminder to come back for another little bite. It is wrong, isn't it? It's just food. But, it's not. It's cheesecake. Ginger cheesecake.

Ginger Cheesecake

3 cups ginger snap crumbs (I suggest Anna's brand, available at Ikea or World Market)
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar

16 ounces Neufchatel or cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar

Candied Ginger
Whipped Cream

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

To make ginger snap crumbs, put the snaps in a large Ziploc bag with the air squeezed out. Crush them up. They don't have to be all perfect and powdered, just small pieces and crumbs.

Combine crumbs, sugar, and butter.
Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.

Cream the cream cheese until smooth, using a mixer or even a heavy wooden spoon if that's what you've got. Blend the eggs, sugar, and vanilla into the cream cheese until well combined.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven

Raise oven temperature to 425 and let the cheesecake cool for 15 minutes as the oven temperature rises.

Combine the room temperature sour cream and sugar and spread it gently over the baked cheesecake.

Return the cake to the 425 degree oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and chill the cheesecake for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

There you have the absolute perfect cheesecake. You'll notice that there's no ginger in the cheesecake itself. The crust is enough, and the contrast between the ginger's bite and the cream cheese's smooth and soothing texture is the key.

It needs no toppings, provided your ginger snaps are strong enough. Don't skimp. That box next to the Nilla Wafers is not the ginger snap to buy. Go gourmet on this one. Also, feel free to garnish the plate with one or two of the most perfect ginger snaps.

If you think you can handle an extra bit of ginger, you can dice some crystallized, candied ginger and sprinkle a few on top of each slice.

Whipped cream is an easy choice for a garnish, it looks wonderful and doesn't take away from the dessert itself. It's cool and creamy, yet somehow warm and mellow, sweet but not too sweet. You can just barely smell it, and it coats the tongue in an unusual way as it transforms from solid to deliciously fluid in the space of just a few seconds.

I'd serve with a cold glass of dry Champagne or sparkling wine. More bite.


If you've never made cheesecake, just make one. It's easy. The worst that can happen is some lumps in the cream cheese. So? You can't even tell. It's still decadent and delicious.

I use actual sugar in this one. The whole dessert is really bad for you. Sugar, butter, cream cheese, and sour cream. Plus, more sugar and then some cookies. Mmmm.... bad.

Feel free to replace the sugar with Splenda if you need to. But, this is a special occasion dessert. New Years Eve for two, Valentine's Day dinner, sealing the deal on date number three. Splurge.


  1. Sheesh, Roland, some of your posts could turn a guy into a hopeless food slut. (That was a compliment.)

  2. Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.


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