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Ginger-Molasses Cheesecake

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Serves sixteen to twenty.

Yields one 10-inch cheesecake.

I use gingersnaps from the store because their crunchiness makes them ideal for grinding to a fine crumb.

For the crust:
  • 2 cups finely crushed gingersnap cookies (about 8-1/2 oz.; crushed in a food processor or in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin)
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 oz. (5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted; plus 1 tsp. melted butter for the pan
For the ginger-molasses filling:
  • Five 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Position one rack in the center of the oven and another directly beneath it. Heat the oven to 350°F.

Make the crust:

Mix the crushed gingersnaps and sugar in a small bowl. Using a fork or your hands, gradually work in the melted butter, mixing until all the crumbs are moistened. Use your fingers and the bottom of a straight-sided, flat-bottomed metal measuring cup or drinking glass to press the mixture firmly into a 10x3-inch springform pan to create a uniform 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick crust that covers the bottom and goes 1 to 1-1/2 inches up the sides. Bake the crust on the middle oven rack until it’s fragrant and warm to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling:

Put the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until very smooth and entirely free of lumps. Gradually add the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until the sugar has dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. (Smear a small amount of the mixture between your fingertips; there should be no grittiness if the sugar has dissolved.)

In a small bowl, mix the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the cream cheese and mix on low speed until blended.

Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on medium speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after every other addition. (Beat no more than necessary to mix in each egg or you’ll incorporate too much air, making the cheesecake dry and porous as opposed to dense and creamy.) Add the molasses, cream, and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Assemble and bake the cheesecake:

Brush the inside rim of the pan above the crust with the remaining 1 tsp. melted butter, without disturbing the crust. Pour the batter into the pan—it should fill the pan to a little above the crust. Put the pan on the middle oven rack and position a foil-lined baking sheet directly beneath it to catch any butter drips. Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and the center just barely jiggles when the side of the pan is gently tapped, 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes. It’s fine if the cake develops a few cracks on the surface. Turn off the oven, open the door, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 15 minutes.

Set the cake on a rack until completely cool, at least 4 hours. Cover the cake loosely with plastic, cut a few air vents in the plastic, and refrigerate it overnight in the pan. When ready to serve, slowly release the pan sides. If any of the cake edge appears stuck, gently loosen it with a sharp paring knife before continuing to release the pan.

For the cleanest servings, use a sharp chef’s knife and wipe it clean with a warm, damp cloth between slices.

Make Ahead Tips

To Store: Cover the cake loosely with plastic and refrigerate. It’s best if eaten within a day or two, as the crust will soften.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a sprinkle of candied nuts—pecans would be great.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 20 servings, Calories (kcal): 390, Fat (kcal): 26, Fat Calories (g): 240, Saturated Fat (g): 16, Protein (g): 7, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8, Carbohydrates (mg): 33, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1.5, Sodium (g): 290, Cholesterol (g): 145, Fiber (g): 0,

Photo: Scott Phillips

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