I used to approach cheesecakes with caution. I thought of them as very firm custards that needed a long, gentle cook at a low heat to avoid scrambling the eggs that bind them. I’ve since learned that they are a bit more resilient than that. This particular one, inspired by the Basque cheesecake, is blasted at a high temperature for a short time to give an irresistible, caramelised crust that gives way to a smooth, creamy interior.
Honey-and-ginger cheesecake with streusel topping
I tend to use loose-bottomed tins for all my bakes, but, if you prefer, a springform tin would work well here.
Prep 20 min
Chill 4 hr
Cook 1 hr
For the cake
600g cream cheese
40g plain flour, sieved
2 tsp ground ginger
200ml double cream
4 large eggs, beaten
For the topping
100g plain flour
50g cold salted butter
100g demerara sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
30g crystallised ginger, cut into 5mm cubes
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7, and line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with greaseproof paper. (Rub the tin with a little oil or butter first, to help the paper stick to the sides.)
Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth, then stir through the flour and ground ginger, followed by the honey, cream and eggs. Pour into the tin, put on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the tin, then bake for another 15 minutes: the surface should by now be a deep chestnut brown, but the middle should still have quite a noticeable jiggle when shaken. (If you have a kitchen probe thermometer, the centre of the cake should read between 65-70C.)
Remove the cake from the oven, leave to cool to room temperature, then chill for four hours. Lower the oven temperature to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6.
While the cake is chilling, prepare the topping by rubbing together (or using a food processor) the flour, butter, sugar and ground ginger until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Put on a baking tray, chill in the freezer for 10 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes.
When you’re ready to serve, scatter the streusel over the top of the cheesecake, followed by the cubes of crystallised ginger.