Gingerbread & Salted Caramel

Gingerbread & Salted Caramel

I’m not really a fan of all the traditional Christmas desserts (too many raisins), but this is a rather splendid, festive-tasting alternative. This is not a recipe for anyone who’s squeamish about calories. But, hey, its Christmas……!

We made a lot of gingerbread houses in the run-up to Christmas this year. And I baked all the spare gingerbread dough to avoid wasting it – and because I love gingerbread! So I thought I’d try creating a dessert using crushed gingerbread as a biscuit base since I had so much of it. You could always use shop-bought gingerbread, or any ginger biscuits instead – it would still taste fab.

I made it as dessert for our family Christmas Eve dinner and it went down pretty well. I will get around to making a slightly prettier version at some point (baking it in a smaller tin would make it deeper and more impressive-looking…….and I’ll make some mini gingerbread people to decorate it with, but this is the way it turned out the first time I tried it, and it tasted great ……..which is all that matters really, right?!)

The ‘Rules’ of baked cheesecake say that you should cook it in a waterbath. But I was in a bit of a rush, and frankly couldn’t be bothered with all the faff, so I just baked it in the oven at a low temperature, and it worked perfectly well!

Just remember to make this dessert the day before you want to eat it, because it needs to chill in the fridge overnight.

Makes: 10-12 generous slices, baked in a 23cm springform tin

Takes: 30 mins to prepare, then about an hour in the oven, and needs chilling overnight.

Ingredients:

Crust:

250 grams gingerbread (use ready-bought gingerbread biscuits, or use the recipe from my previous post ‘How to Make a Gingerbread house’)

100 grams melted butter

50 grams caster sugar

Cheesecake Filling:

500 grams full fat cream cheese (it’s important to use the full fat stuff!)

150 grams caster sugar

3 large eggs

100 grams double cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

200 grams salted caramel sauce (I used a jar of M&S dessert sauce)

Topping:

400grams double cream

250 grams mascarpone cheese

150 grams salted caramel sauce

2 tablespoons gingerbread crumbs

Optional: Small gingerbread biscuits to decorate (I used some of the gingerbread dough to make small stars)

Method:

1.

First prepare a 23cm diameter spring form tin. Line the bottom with baking paper, grease the sides with butter, and wrap the outside in tin foil, just in case of any leaks!

2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (Gas mark 6).

3.

In a food processor, or with a heavy rolling pin, crush the gingerbread biscuits into crumbs. Keep 2 tablespoons of crumbs aside for the topping, and put the rest into a mixing bowl. image

4.

Add sugar and melted butter to the crumbs, and then press them into an even layer on the bottom of the tin (I also pushed some of the crust mixture part way up the sides of the tin, but you don’t need to. Using a small, flat-bottomed glass is a good way to compress and spread the biscuit crust). image

5.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes until it is set. Take out of the oven and turn the oven down to 120 degrees C (Gas mark 3).

6.

While the crust is cooking. Make the cheesecake filling. This is very easy, just put all the ingredients except the caramel sauce into a mixing bowl. Use a whisk, or electric hand mixer to beat the mixture until it is smooth and frothy. image

7.

When the crust is cooked, pour the cheesecake filling into the tin, it will be very runny.

8.

Use a teaspoon to scatter dollops of the caramel sauce all over the cheesecake (do not mix them in) image

9.

Make sure the oven temperature is down to 120 degrees C before putting the cheesecake it. Bake it for 55-65 minutes, until it is almost set in the middle with a very slight wobble. It should be very slightly shrinking away from the sides of the tin but shouldn’t have cracked on top. Then turn off the oven and leave it in there to continue cooking and setting as the oven cools. image

10.

After a couple of hours, put the cheesecake into the fridge to chill overnight, still in the tin and covered in cling-film.

11.

The next day, make the topping by whisking the double cream until it forms soft peaks. Then whisk in the mascarpone cheese to make a smooth topping.

12.

Carefully run a spatula around the sides of the cheesecake tin, open the tin and slide it onto a serving plate.

13.

Spoon the cream topping onto the cheesecake and spread it evenly. image

14.

Mix the remaining caramel sauce until it is smooth and pourable. Use a spoon to drizzle it over the cheesecake, and scatter the gingerbread crumbs over the top. imageimage

15.

Finally, just before serving, decorate the top of the cheesecake with small gingerbread biscuits. Storage: This is best eaten within 24 hours, mostly because the gingerbread biscuits on top start to go soft, but it is good for 3-4 days if it is kept chilled and covered in the fridge.