Photo: Helen Rosner
These tartlets have all the sweet winter spices we love, a luscious creamy interior, and extra snap in the ginger cookie crust. Cheesecakes are easy to make and a good starting point for beginning bakers.
4 cups finely crushed gingersnaps (about 60)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 pound cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin, fresh or canned
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
To make the crust, in a mixing bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs with the melted butter and toss together until the mixture holds together when pressed. (Add an additional tablespoon of butter if necessary.) Pat into the bottom and slightly up the sides of eight 4 1/2-inch tartlet pans or a 10-inch springform pan. Bake about 7 minutes, or until set.
Meanwhile make the filling. Press the grated ginger against a fine sieve set over a small bowl, to extract the juice. Set aside the ginger juice and discard the pulp.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, and salt. Beat until creamy and well combined, then add the ginger juice and the pumpkin puree and beat again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each, but being careful not to overbeat and incorporate too much air. Pour the filling into the tart pans and return to the oven.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center is just firm to the touch. Cool to room temperature, then chill 2 hours or overnight.