Secret Layer Ginger Cheesecake
Foodie Fights Battle: Peas & Ginger
Have you heard of FoodieFights.com? It’s kind of like Iron Chef for normal people, started by Nick at Macheesmo and Dan at The Food In My Beard.
I just discovered it last week, right when they were about to start the first battle since they re-launched their site and thought What the heck! I registered and signed up for the first battle. The ingredients for this battle are ginger and peas.
Let me tell you, I came up with sooo many ideas for this battle. I agonized. I grilled my boyfriend about what he thought. I could NOT decide what to make! Should I go for comfort food that everyone loves? Daring and gourmet? Totally off the wall? Safe and down home?
I had first decided to go fairly safe with some Ginger-Honey Glazed Lamb Chops with Minted Pea Chutney. But while I was shopping for that, I had an epiphany and thought “Cheesecake!”
I mean, think about it – there are lots of sweet veggie recipes. Carrot cake, zucchini bread, beet chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, etc. Peas are sweet. Why not go all the way with it and see how it does in a truly sweet application? I became obsessed with the idea and had to try it. I still made the chops as a backup, just in case the cheesecake really sucked, so you’ll be seeing that recipe here in a couple of days.
But today, let’s talk about Ginger and Pea Cheesecake!!
Ginger & Pea Cheesecake
Unfortunately, I was so consumed with figuring out what I was doing, that I totally forgot to take pictures during the process, so the only thing you get to see is the final result. Sorry!
My vision was of a gorgeous marbled top with beautiful light green swirled through the white cheesecake. As you can see, that’s not how it came out. The top of this cheesecake browned quite a bit, so I would recommend covering it for the first half of baking to reduce that.
Also, pea puree is apparently heavy enough that it sinks. Although I attempted to marble this, it really came out more like a bottom layer of pea and a top layer of ginger. Finally, I only used 1 cup of pea puree and didn’t quite get as much lovely green cheesecake and pea flavor as I’d like. I’ve adjusted the recipe to reflect these changes.
Overall, this cheesecake turned out delicious! It is rich and sweet and very creamy. Even my anything-healthy-or-“weird”-hating boyfriend loved it. He scarfed down a big piece and scraped the plate clean. If HE will eat a cheesecake with peas in it, I consider it an absolute victory!
So, next time you’d like to make an unusual and delicious Springtime dessert, consider this Secret Layer Ginger Cheesecake. Just don’t tell anyone what the green part is until AFTER they eat it!
Secret Layer Ginger Cheesecake
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- Gingersnap cookies to get 2 cups crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 pounds cream cheese (4 8-oz blocks), room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs
- 4 cups frozen peas, blanched and drained
- Zest of 1/2 a lemon
- 4 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
- Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 10″ springform pan with baking spray or coat with butter and flour. Wrap bottom of pan with double layers of foil.
- Process gingersnap cookies to get 2 cups finely ground crumbs. Whisk crumbs with sugar, ground ginger and salt until well mixed. Add melted butter and mix until all crumbs are moistened.
- Press crumb crust into bottom and up side of springform pan and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- While crust is baking, process peas in a blender or food processor until smooth. Press pea puree through a strainer to achieve a fine puree. 4 cups of unstrained puree will produce about 1.5 to 2 cups of fine puree (unless you’re a lot more tenacious than I am!) . Then press the grated fresh ginger through strainer to remove the fibrous ginger bits and get 3 tablespoons of ginger juice. This straining step is the most tedious and un-fun part of this recipe, but it is necessary to get a smooth cheesecake texture.
- Mix cream cheese and sour cream with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla and mix just until incorporated. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in lemon zest.
- Separate batter into two equal portions. Mix 1 1/2 cups of strained pea puree into one half, and the ginger juice into the other. You can taste both of these portions and add a little sugar, if needed, to adjust the flavor. I didn’t think it needed any.
- Pour the pea cheesecake batter into the pan, then top with the ginger cheesecake. You can try to mix and marble them, but I found that the pea puree was heavier and sank to the bottom anyway.
- Cover top loosely with foil, place into a roasting pan and place the roasting pan into the oven. Pour hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake covered for 1 hour.
- Remove cover and bake for another 45 minutes (start checking at 30 minutes). Remove when sides of cake are set, but very center still seems loose. Allow to cool completely, then chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
© DontForgetDelicious.com and Valerie Tate Williams