In last week’s post I mentioned how inspired I was by McCormick’s 2012 Flavor Forecast and that there would be more fun and unique new recipes to come. Well, here is another one of the ideas that sprang to life after my participation in the Forecast. One of the flavor combinations that they discussed was ginger and coconut, which of course sounds amazing, but for some reason the taste combination of lemon and ginger popped into my head, and since I’d been craving cheesecake for a couple weeks, I decided to combine all of these marvelous ideas into one simple and flavorful dessert. I made the crust from scratch and put some ground ginger in it for a little bit of an extra gingery kick. The filling is no-bake, which I love because baking cheesecake can be tricky, and has candied ginger, grated ginger root, lemon juice, and lemon zest in it, plus cream cheese and cool whip. I especially loved the filling because the cool whip made it nice and light and fluffy, and there’s just a pleasant hint of lemon and ginger, not at all overpowering or intrusive. I’m definitely making this again in the summer, if it tastes this great when it’s chilly outside I can only imagine how wonderful and refreshing it would be on a hot sunny day.
1/2 Cup Butter, cold and hard
1/4 Cup Ice Water
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, left at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften
8 Ounces Cool Whip
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Grated Lemon Rind
1/2 Teaspoon Crystallized Ginger, crushed into small pieces
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Grated Ginger
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the crust, mix together the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Cut the butter into roughly pea-sized pieces over the bowl. Then add the water to the bowl and knead the mixture with your hands until an evenly textured dough forms.
Roll out the dough until it is about 1 cm thick, then transfer it into a regular 8-inch pie pan. Place a single layer of dried beans on the bottom of the crust, DO NOT push them down into the crust, just gently place them on top of it. Leaving the beans in while you bake the crust keeps the crust from getting strange air pockets. Trim the edges of the crust and use a fork to create a cross-hatch pattern around the edges. Place the crust in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the center of the crust is cooked. Remove the pie from the oven and use a small spoon to gently roll the beans out of the crust. Allow the crust to cool completely.
While the crust is baking, make the filling. Mix together the cream cheese, cool whip, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in the candied ginger, grated ginger, and 1/2 Teaspoon of the lemon rind until evenly distributed. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
Once the crust has cooled to room temperature, scoop the filling into the crust and smooth the top of it with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind for decoration. Place the entire cheesecake in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least an hour before serving to help the filling solidify. Serve, and refrigerate any leftovers.