Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

My friends and I were recently planning a 30th birthday dinner for one of our other friends.  We were planning out the menu and debating what we should have for dessert.  Three nights before the party I told my friend I found fresh figs at Trader Joe’s and also picked up some of their (to die for) gingersnap cookies.

I told my friend my idea for a fig and maple cheesecake with a gingersnap crust.  Her response?  That sounds amazing but also like a lot of work.  My response?  Yea, you’re right, let’s go out for dessert and cocktails after dinner instead.

Creamy Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Spoiler alert:  I made the fig and gingersnap cheesecake anyway.

Once I had the idea in my head I couldn’t let it go!  And cheesecakes are actually perfect for dinner parties because you are forced to make them in advance.  And they are total showstoppers.  I know they seem intimidating, but I’ve got a few tips that will help make sure you get perfect cheesecake every time.

Creamy Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

  1.   Make sure your ingredients are completely room temperature
    • Your cheesecake batter will be smooth and creamy as a result
  2.   Bake your cheesecake in a water bath
    • The gentle cooking method helps to prevent cracks
  3.   Cool the cheesecake very slowly
    •  This also helps prevent cracks and improves the cheesecake texture
  4.   Amp up the flavor!
    • Get crazy with your crust (hello, Gingersnap Cheesecake)
    • Add flavorings like orange zest, maple syrup, vanilla, etc. to your batter

Creamy Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the gingersnap crust

  • 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • Zest 1 orange
  • ½ tbsp fresh orange juice

For the cheesecake

  • 32 oz full fat cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 12-16 oz fresh figs

Figs & Gingersnap Cookies - Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Several hours before you’re ready to make your cheesecake, remove the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.  See rule number 1 for why this is effective.

While the other ingredients come to room temperature, you can make the gingersnap crust.  Preheat the oven to 325 and start by crushing gingersnap cookies into crumbs.  I find a food processor to be the easiest way to do this, but you could also crush the cookies inside of a ziploc bag using a rolling pin.

Ground gingersnaps - Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Combine two cups of the gingersnap cookie crumbs with melted butter, orange zest, and fresh orange juice.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan to form the crust and bake at 325 for 10-15 minutes.  The crust should be browned and fragrant.

Next, it’s time to make the cheesecake batter.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour, and salt.  Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to whip the ingredients together, scraping down the sides with a spatula as you go.

Creamy Cheesecake Filling - Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and orange juice to the batter and mix again to incorporate.  Finally, add the eggs one at a time beating each egg into the mixture one by one.

Pour the batter into the springform pan on top of the gingersnap crust.  The batter should be fairly runny and should pour easily.  Use a spatula to get every last drop of batter into the pan.  Smooth the batter so the top is free of any lumps or ripples.

Cheesecake setting - Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Now it’s time for the cheesecake to bake in its water bath.  To do this, wrap the bottom of the springform pan in foil to prevent the water from leaking into the cake.  Next, place the springform pan on a baking sheet which you will fill with water.

I find it’s easiest to transfer the baking sheet with the cheesecake on it to the oven first and then pour the water into the bottom of the baking sheet.

Cheesecake in water bath - Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Place the pan in a 325 degree oven and add an inch or two of water, being careful not to add water above the foil line.  Bake the cheesecake at 325 for 70-90 minutes or until it is set in the middle.  Add additional water to the pan as needed throughout baking.

I’ve experienced different cooking times when baking this in different ovens.  You don’t want over or undercooked cheesecake, which is why I say start checking it at 70 minutes and continue baking it until the middle is set.  It should have very little jiggle to it.

Baked Cheesecake - Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Once the cheesecake is done baking, it’s time to start the slow cooling process.  Turn off the oven and crack the door open (you can insert a wooden spoon to prop it open if yours doesn’t stay open on its own).  Let it hang out in the warm oven for 20-30 minutes, then remove it from the oven and let it cool on the counter for another 30-60 minutes.

After it cools to room temperature, cover it and transfer to the refrigerator where it needs to chill overnight.  If you don’t have time to chill it overnight, you at least need 3-4 hours.

Creamy Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Once it’s done chilling, undo the springform pan and place the cheesecake on a cake stand.  You can also serve it on the bottom of the springform pan itself.  Garnish the top with sliced figs in whatever pattern you’d like.

I also found some super sweet champagne grapes at the store and added those the top of the gingersnap cheesecake as well.  They were a fun addition but are totally optional.  Some fresh grated orange zest would work well here too.

Creamy Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

Finally, it’s time to serve!  Cheesecake can be messy to slice, but if you run your knife under warm water before you slice it, it will cut right through.

Bon appétit!

Fig & Gingersnap Cheesecake

This creamy gingersnap cheesecake is flavored with maple syrup and orange zest and topped with fresh, ripe figs

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

For the gingersnap crust

  • 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • Zest 1 orange
  • ½ tbsp fresh orange juice

For the cheesecake

  • 32 oz full fat cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 12-16 oz fresh figs

Instructions

  1. Several hours before you're ready to make your cheesecake, remove the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature. 

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 and crush the gingersnap cookies into crumbs using a food processor.  

  3. Combine two cups of the gingersnap cookie crumbs with melted butter, orange zest, and fresh orange juice. 

  4. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan to form the crust and bake at 325 for 10-15 minutes. 

  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour, and salt. Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to whip the ingredients together.

  6. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and orange juice to the batter and mix again to incorporate.

  7. Add the eggs one at a time beating each egg into the mixture one by one.

  8. Pour the batter into the springform pan on top of the gingersnap crust. Smooth the batter so the top is free of any lumps or ripples.

  9. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in foil and place the pan on a baking sheet which you will fill with water.

  10. Place the pan in a 325 degree oven and add an inch or two of water, being careful not to add water above the foil line.

  11. Bake the cheesecake at 325 for 70-90 minutes or until it is set in the middle. Add additional water to the pan as needed throughout baking.

  12. Once the cheesecake is done baking, turn off the oven and crack the door open.  Let it cool in the warm oven for 30 minutes, then remove it from the oven and let it cool on the counter for another 60 minutes.

  13. After it cools to room temperature, cover it and transfer to the refrigerator where it needs to chill overnight. 

  14. Once it's done chilling, undo the springform pan and place the cheesecake on a cake stand. Garnish the top with sliced figs

  15. Finally, it's time to serve! Cheesecake can be messy to slice, but if you run your knife under warm water before you slice it, it will cut right through.



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