I actually made this recipe a month or so ago, but it was a complete failure. Looking back through the recipe, I’m not sure exactly what I did wrong, but it may have had something to do with the gelatine!!
Anyway, it was time to give it a second go, fingers crossed it would be ok this time as it’s not the cheapest cheesecake to make.
A 20cm (8″) loose bottomed cake tin was greased. I also lined the base with parchment as I can never get my cheesecakes off the base of the tins which really bugs me!
Into a plastic bag went 100g ginger biscuits. These were crushed with a rolling-pin and added to 50g butter (which had been melted) and 25g demerara sugar. The mixture was pressed into the bottom of the tin and put into the fridge to set.
In a bowl I weighed out 100g plain chocolate and melted it (I used the microwave as I find it a lot quicker and also there’s less washing up than if you place it over a pan of water, although you do have to keep a close eye on it!). This was put to one side to allow to cool slightly.
Now this is where I think I went wrong last time. Into a bowl I measured out 3 tablespoons of cold water and sprinkled 15g powdered gelatine over the top. I can’t remember whether or not I put the gelatine into the bowl and added the water last time. Having read the back of the packet it clearly states that the gelatine must be added to the water and not the other way round! This was left for 10 minutes to allow the gelatine to ‘sponge’. The bowl was then stood in a pan of gently simmering water until it had completely dissolved. This too was put to one side to cool.
In yet another bowl (so much washing up…) I put two large egg yolks (the whites were put in yet another bowl to be used later in the recipe), 50g caster sugar and 100g full-fat soft cheese. These 3 ingredients were beaten together. 150ml soured cream together with the cooled chocolate were the next to be added and stirred into the mixture. It was then time to add the dissolved gelatine and stir this through.
The egg whites were whipped up until frothy and these too were added to the cheese mixture and folded in. The last two items to be added were 4 tablespoons of brandy (that seemed rather a lot to me!) and 25g of chopped stem ginger. There is a slight discrepancy in Mary’s recipe in the list of ingredients it clearly states 25g fresh ginger, finely chopped (the last of my fresh ginger went in a vegetable curry at the weekend), but in the method part of the recipe Mary states ‘chopped stem ginge’r. Luckily I had a jar of this in the fridge so I used that. These two ingredients were stirred in and the mixture was poured onto the biscuit base and put back in the fridge to chill and set.
Time for washing up…
After a few hours I had a look at the cheesecake and was pleased to see that it had set. It was removed from the tin and the top was decorated with 150ml double cream which had been whipped until it formed soft peaks. The finishing touch was to be the chocolate caraque. I melted 100g plain chocolate and once melted I poured a thin layer of it onto my marble board and using a palette knife I spread the chocolate out thinly until it began to set and started to go cloudy. This actually took quite a long time, I’m not sure whether it was because of the hot sunny weather we’ve been experiencing recently or the fact that my chocolate wasn’t poured that thinly in the first place.
The chocolate was left until it no longer stuck to my hand when touched. Then using a sharp flexible knife at an angle I shaved the chocolate off the surface using a slight sawing motion. The first couple of attempts turned out quite well, but the bit in the middle I think the chocolate wasn’t quite set enough and the curls began to melt quite quickly. I quickly popped the chocolate curls onto a plate and put them in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up before putting them on top of the cake.
Finally, a few thin slices of stem ginger were put on top of the cake in-between the chocolate curls.
Tastewise it was a very rich cheesecake indeed and I felt only a small slice was needed. The brandy certainly came through, but you could also taste the ginger too. The ginger came through a lot stronger the next day. It was a lovely looking cheesecake, but in all honesty it wasn’t my favourite!