Monday, March 19, 2007

Chai Cheesecake

A few weeks ago when I was at the doctor, I was flipping through a copy of Bon Appetit while waiting...and waiting...and waiting! Finally I had my name called, but by that point, the magazine was interesting...I took it with me to read when I got to the exam room...cuz you know I was going to have to wait in there as well...sure enough...another 10 minutes...well, at that point I found a few recipes that I really wanted to try...the biggest one and one I've never done before...cheesecake! The magazine came home with me.

Well, I've given it a shot. Lots of work. Plenty of time. Final's pretty dang good!! It's satisfying. Filling. Rich. Spicy and Creamy! The crust was a little over done...but you'll see some other crust issues as you scroll on. So for a first time cheese cake...I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out.

Chai-Spiced Cheesecake with Ginger Crust
Serves 12
from Bon Appetit, February 2007

Non-stick spray
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger

4 8oz blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 8oz container mascarpone cheese
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/3 cups sour cream
3 TB sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the crust:
Spray 9 inch springform pan with 3 inch sides with non9stick spray. Sift flour, ginger and salt into a medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in another medium bowl until blended. Beat in egg yolk, then flour mixture. Stir in crystallized ginger. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. Transfer to prepared pan. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of pan; pierce all over with form. Freeze 30 minutes.

The crust is all pressed into place. The recipe called for rolling the dough into a round. I didn't find that necessary. The dough is very soft and presses into place easily.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350. Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until set, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Bake crust until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Cool crust complete on rack.

Prepared to "blind bake."

Huh? That didn't work. After the time required, I lifted the dried lentils and foil out of the pan and it took half the crust with it??!!? BOO!

But I decided to move forward sense trying to start over...besides I wouldn't have enough eggs to do another batch of crust.

For the filling:
Preheat oven to 350. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add mascarpone; beat until smooth. Beat in whole eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in yolks. Add next 6 ingredients; beat until blended. Transfer filling to cooled crust in pan; smooth top.

I tasted the! Like a thick, extra-creamy chai tea!

Bake cake 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 200. Continue backing until cake is set around edges but center moves slightly when pan is gently shaken (top of cake may crack), about 30 minutes longer. Remove cake from oven. Increase oven temperature to 350.

I'm sure this little accident would have been averted if I had placed the pan in a cake pan with hot water...more even cooking. But the recipe didn't call for it. So my other excuse for this...extra air in the batter. After resting for a little bit, the cake sort of fell back inside the pan.

For Topping:
Whisk all ingredients in small bowl; spread evenly over top of cake. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Run small knife around cake sides. Chill uncovered over night.

Here's the topping after baking. I'm sure if I didn't have those giant crevasses in the side of the cake, the topping would have smoothed over and prettified the final cake.

Remove pan sides. Transfer cake to platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

After all that, it looks pretty good!!!


Dancer in DC said...

Definitely spicy (warm, not hot) with an aggressive cardamom flavor. Rich and filling - I dare you to try and eat 2 slices in 1 sitting!

Stef said...

Um, wow. Scotte, wow. Just thinking about my favorite beverage in cheesecake form.... wow.

I have to go be by myself now.

Grant said...

I think that looks delicious! I have that issue of Bon Appetite and was wondering about this recipe. I'm gonna have to give it a try. Thanks!