Classic cream cheesecake recipe with chocolate ginger cookie crust

Dan Lepard's classic cream cheesecake with chocolate ginger cookie crumb.
Dan Lepard's classic cream cheesecake with chocolate ginger cookie crumb. Photo: William Meppem

This is a very delicate but gorgeously rich 1960s-style baked cheesecake, with a chocolate cookie crumb crust that has a soft pastry texture once baked and chilled. Folding beaten egg white through the mix gives it a light, aerated texture, subtly different to the all-in method of most modern baked cheesecakes.

Ingredients

For the cookie crust crumb

300g-400g homemade cookies (see my chocolate ginger snap recipe here) OR 300g-400g packet biscuits (Arnott's Choc Ripple or similar are a good texture)

75g melted butter (add a bit more if using packet biscuits)*

*Packet biscuits usually contain very little fat, so they need more melted butter to hold their shape. I found I needed 400 grams of homemade biscuits and 75 grams of melted butter.

For the cheesecake

175g mascarpone*

225g castor sugar

750g full fat cream cheese

4 eggs, 60g each, separated

250g sour cream

3 tsp lemon juice or vanilla extract

big pinch of salt

*If you like, you can replace the cooked mixture of mascarpone and sugar with a 395-gram tin of sweetened condensed milk, and just pour that into the cream cheese with the yolks.

Method

For the cookie crust crumb

1. Grind the homemade OR packet cookies to a powder, then mix in enough melted butter until the cookie crumbs hold their shape when pressed together.

2. Press the crumb mixture evenly and firmly across the base and halfway up the sides of a deep 23cm in diameter springform cake tin on a lipped baking tray.

3. Bake at 180C/140C in fan-forced oven for 20 minutes to cook the crumb, then remove from the oven.

4. Cool slightly and use a straight-sided coffee mug to press the hot crumb mix back up the sides of the tin if it has dropped down.

For the cheesecake

1. Put the mascarpone and castor sugar in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until it forms a syrup. Remove from the heat when it boils, then leave to cool.

2. Beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth, then beat in the mascarpone syrup and egg yolks. Next, beat in the sour cream and lemon juice.

3. In a very clean bowl, whisk the eggs whites with the salt to stiff peaks. Fold this through the cheese mixture evenly.

4. Pour the mixture in the springform tin right to the top, and bake at 140C/120C fan-forced for about 75 to 90 minutes, or until the temperature deep in the middle reaches 65C, or just before the middle of the cake fully rises while it's still wobbly.

5. Leave to cool, then chill before serving.

Tip: Freeze the biscuits before crumbing so they grind finely.

For the crust, try my chocolate ginger snap cookie recipe.