lemon cheesecake with a ginger crust

Sometimes recipe ideas whirl around in my head and there they remain until the cake or tart is made. I woke last Sunday determined to make a lemon cheesecake with a ginger crust. Don't ask me why. On Saturday night I made a ginger crust using crushed up ginger biscuits, which just wouldn't set, so into the kitchen I went early Sunday morning to make a new crust from scratch.

I made a classic shortbread base but jazzed it up with some chopped glace ginger and ground ginger.

The filling was adapted from an Ottolenghi recipe for lemon cheesecake tartlets and the idea for the candied lemon slices came from an Antonio Carluccio recipe in Delicious magazine.

It can be a bit of a risk making something new. Each item might work on it's own, but when put together???? I used my cute little 16 cm tin but if you want to make a 23 cm (9 inch) cake just double all the cheesecake ingredients. You won't need to make any more candied lemon slices though.

The cheesecake is very gently set, so you might want to use an extra egg. For the larger version I would definitely use 3 - 4 eggs. Please note, for all my recipes I use 60 g eggs, a 20 ml tablespoon and a 250 ml cup. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced, either turn off the fan or drop the temperature 20 - 30°C.

Here's the recipe for you.

Lemon Cheesecake with a Ginger Crust

For the base
55 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
25 g (1 oz) raw caster sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp finely chopped glace or crystallized ginger
½ cup plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger

250 g (8 oz) cream cheese
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 60 g egg
⅓ cup sour cream
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
50 ml lemon juice

To serve
Cream, ginger biscuit crumbs to finish or candied lemon slices

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.

Grease a 16 cm spring form tin and line the base with baking paper. Cream the butter, sugar, lemon rind and chopped ginger in a bowl until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour and ground ginger and add to the mixture to form a soft dough. Press the dough into the base of the 16 cm spring form tin (but not up the sides). Bake until the edge of the crust is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Set to one side.

Reduce oven temperature to 160°C/352°F. Place a baking tin of hot water on the lower rack of the oven.

Blend the cream cheese and sugar until smooth then whisk in the egg, the sour cream, the lemon rind and the juice. Pour the filling into the prepared tin then place on the middle shelf in the oven.  Bake cheesecake until filling is just set, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar. Let the cheesecake stand in the oven for an 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool cheesecake completely on rack before covering and refrigerating overnight.

Candied Lemon Slices
1 small lemon thinly sliced and seeds removed
⅔ cup caster sugar
⅔ cup water

In a frying pan, combine the sugar and water, place over a low heat stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 - 8 minutes or until the toffee starts to turn golden. Add the lemon slices and turn frequently until the lemon slices are golden and well coated about 3 - 5 minutes. Remove the slices and place on baking paper. Allow to cool at room temperature.

Serve with whipped cream and candied lemon slices. Decorate just before serving.

It was a workmates birthday on Monday, so I brought this in for morning tea. The verdict from my test audience - this cheesecake is good, very, very good, so good that the birthday girl threw caution to the wind and had 2 slices. This recipe is definitely a keeper. 

I hope you had a nice weekend. I can't believe I have less than 3 weeks work left for 2014. Bring it on!



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