I’ve always prided myself in the fact that rarely do my new recipe tries turn out to be flops. I wasn’t so lucky with my first cheesecake attempt. Who knew there was a difference between the cream cheese in the tubs and the cream cheese in the sticks? Apparently there is a huge difference. I spent three hours laboring overing my delicious dessert, following the recipe to a tee as I even baked the cake in a water bath, staying up past midnight to make sure it sat in the oven for the designated time after baking. The next afternoon, as I drizzled the glaze, removed the springform pan, and began slicing to serve my family, I realized it wasn’t quite as dense as cheesecakes I had previously enjoyed. I soon realized my gingerbread cheesecake was more like a gingerbread pudding. Though it may have not had the consistency I was aiming for, it sure was tasty! Despite the perceived failure, my family actually loved it (even the ones not crazy about gingerbread! Am I the only one who really truly enjoys it?) Though I hated the fact that the imperfect consistency was a blemish on my track record, my supportive family told me it was a great try for my first attempt, and loved the flavor so much that some of them got seconds. Unlike me, they were able to look past the imperfection and enjoy the yummy dessert. It reminded me of a simple lesson that we often lose sight of. In our day to day life it is so easy to get caught up focusing on everything going wrong or not just the way we had planned on it going, and forget all the positive things going right in our lives. Especially during the holiday season when it is so easy to get stressed out by high maintenance family members and the pressures of cooking holiday meals. What a relief it is to remember that things don’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable, and often simple mistakes turn into memories that are laughed about for years to come.
Here’s the recipe if anyone wants to take a stab at it!
Gingerbread Cheesecake with Lemon-ginger Glaze
(recipe taken from Southern Living Magazine, December 2018 issue)
Active: 50 min, Total: 3 hours (plus 8 hours chilling)
Crust-2 cups finely crushed gingersnap cookie crumbs, 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Filling-3 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, (STICKS), at room temperature, 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 4 large eggs, 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger, 4 tsp. lemon zest from 1 lemon, 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Glaze-1/2 cup granulated sugar, 4 tsp. lemon zest plus 1/3 cup fresh juice (from 3 lemons), 4 large egg yolks, 3 Tbsp. very finely chopped fresh ginger, 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- Prepare the Crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Tightly wrap bottom and outside of a 9-inch springform pan with 3 or 4 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. (This will protect the cheesecake as it bakes in the water bath.)
- Stir together cookie crumbs, dark brown sugar, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle melted butter over crumb mixture, and toss with a fork to moisten evenly. Press mixture across bottom and about 1/2-inch up inside of prepared springform pan. (Press edges with bottom of a straight-sided measuring cup to ensure they are not too thick).
- Bake in preheated oven until set and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack until ready to use.
- Prepare the Filling: Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, light, and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add brown sugar, ground ginger, and cinnamon, and beat until well combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and stopping to scrape down sides of bowl after each addition. Add sour cream, crystallized ginger, lemon zest, and vanilla, and beat just until combined, about 1 minute. Pour into cooled Crust. Firmly tap pan several times on countertop to remove any air bubbles. Place springform pan inside a large roasting pan. Add very hot tap water to roasting pan to come halfway up outside of springform pan.
- Bake cheesecake in water bath at 325 degrees F until edges of Filling are set and center jiggles slightly when pan is gently jostled, about 1 hour. Turn off oven, and prop door open about 1 inch. Let cheesecake stand in oven 1 hour.
- Remove cheesecake from oven, lift springform pan from water bath, and remove foil. Run a thin knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen from pan. Chill, uncovered, 8 hours or up to 2 days.
- Prepare the Glaze-Whisk together sugar and lemon juice in a small, heavy saucepan until smooth. Whisk in yolks until smooth. Whisk in ginger and lemon zest; add butter. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until mixture is thick and beings to bubble around edge of pan, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Pour Glaze through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing firmly on solids with spatula; discard solids. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of Glaze to prevent a film from forming. Chill at least 4 hours of up to 2 days. (Glaze will continue to thicken slightly as it cools).
- Just before serving, remove outer right from springform pan. Spoon Glaze over top of chilled cheesecake and spread to edges. Slice and serve immediately.