Friday, June 1, 2018

White Chocolate and Ginger Cheesecake

I’ve told you before that I’m mildly addicted to The Great British Baking Show (which appears on our local PBS station at 7 p.m. every day, interspersed with Mary and Paul’s Master classes). I watch while making dinner and waiting for Jeopardy. I learn all sorts of interesting baking tips that I will probably never use.

But I can’t claim to have seen all the episodes, and I stumbled over an episode of M&P’s Master Class a week ago, when Mary made a White Chocolate and Ginger Cheesecake (for Christmas, in her version). I was in love! And (I argued with myself) it doesn’t have to be only for Christmas—just leave off the dark chocolate holly leaves she added.

Mary’s recipe is available online, and several other sources have similar ones—Nigella Lawson and Epicurious popped up first. Me, I mixed and matched. I love ginger, but I didn’t feel like pairing it with a chocolate crust, so I used gingersnaps for the crust.

A note about the ginger. I love the flavor of almost all forms—powdered, candied, preserved (and I use it freshly grated in various marinades and meat-based dished). But each of those will give a different flavor to whatever you’re making. Mary called what she used “preserved ginger” that came in a jar with syrup. My grandmother used to eat crystalized ginger like candy—that’s fresh ginger rolled in coarse sugar and kind of dried. Again, I tweaked the ingredient list: I had fresh ginger and I also had ginger syrup (which I ordered online), so I peeled and diced the ginger and marinated it for a couple of days (in the fridge) in some syrup. No matter which way you go, you want a little texture or even crunch in the ginger you use, which makes the cheesecake part more interesting.

Using white chocolate is an interesting variation for cheesecake, and I wanted to see how it turned out. So here it is!


Once again I give you the full recipe for a standard-size cheesecake, but I made a smaller version for myself or I’d be eating it all week.

All the ingredients


6-1/2 Tblsp. (3/4 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled (plus more for greasing the pan)
A box of gingersnap cookies (the box I had holds one pound)
2 Tblsp sugar
1 tsp ground ginger


Butter a 9-inch springform pan with 2-3/4 inch sides. Wrap the outside of the pan with heavy duty foil.

This is half a pound of crumbs. Fun to make!

Smash the cookies to crumbs with a heavy duty rolling pin (great for getting rid of your frustrations; or if you’re feeling calm, just do it in a food processor, but not too fine). Add the sugar and the ground ginger.

Crumbs plus dry ingredients
plus butter

and in the pan

Add the cooled butter and blend until clumpy. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and partway up the sides. Chill until you need it.



1 bag white chocolate chips
14 oz. full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
5 fluid oz. sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground ginger
2/3 cup minced crystalized ginger, or use preserved ginger (in syrup)


Put the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. 

Melted white chocolate (microwaved)
Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler (or if you’re brave, in your microwave, checking it regularly), stirring. Cool to lukewarm.

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl beat the cream cheese and sour cream together until combined. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract, then stir in the melted white chocolate. Fold in the chopped ginger.

Ginger added

Pour the filling on top of the chilled base and smooth it with a palette knife.  Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until firm around the edge and just a little wiggly in the center.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then run a small knife carefully around the inside edge of the pan. Let sit in the tin until it is completely cool, then chill it in the fridge.

Remove the outer ring from the pan and place the cheesecake on a serving plate (leave the metal base in place--makes it easier to cut).

You can decorate it any way you like. It will keep well for a couple of days in the fridge.

My mini-review: Since I used fresh ginger, the filling had a nice spicy aftertaste. If you like yours milder, try one of the other kinds. The white chocolate gave the filling a lovely smoothness. I might have overdone the amount of crust, but the recipe as a whole is very forgiving, so you can play with your proportions if you like less crust or more filling. Enjoy!

Coming in less than a month! The first in a new Victorian Village series!

The Victorian Barton mansion is the heart of the series, and the nearby town of Asheboro plays an important supporting role, as Kate Hamilton tries to revive a fading country town in Maryland. I keep finding such interesting things there (including a body or two)!


  1. I would LOVE the smaller recipe - it's just the spousal unit and me, and while we CAN eat a whole cheesecake, we really shouldn't. And I thoroughly enjoy your books.


    1. Thank you! Over the years (and during times when our daughter was at school or living somewhere else) I've collected miniature versions of my favorite baking pans. I have a vintage 8-cup cake pan I love, but I was lucky to find its 4-cup version, which I use all the time.

    2. I have several sizes of springform pans to play with; what I really could use is the downsized ingredients. Any change that might be forthcoming?? Thanks.


    3. Cut the ingredients in half?

  2. Cheesecake is our comfort dessert! My daughter always has one for her birthday. Using a gingersnap base is a great idea. Now I need to try this new recipe!

    1. I've got quite a few cheesecake recipes, some shared by friends, but this was one of the more unusual ones I've found. I think it's worth it.

  3. I love The Great British Baking Show -- everyone is so polite! I love the idea of going with the ginger snap crust ~

    1. It is fun to watch. I do often wonder how much advance information on the "bakes" the contestants get--they mention it now and then. And of course there are all the wonderful cakes and breads and such that you've only read about in British novels.

  4. It's always fun to see how you combined various recipes to create your own.

    1. Usually it's because I've forgotten to pick up something at the store, or I don't care for the combination of flavors--or my husband has sneaked a snack without replacing it (he does that a lot with candied ginger). But there are also old recipes where the ingredients aren't available any more or I can't figure out what they are. Took me years to figure out blancmange, although my mother remembered eating it as a child.

  5. I love white chocolate & ginger snaps. This makes an interesting combo for a cheesecake.