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Author Notes: I had a couple of mangos that were threatening to go south on me. They were too soft to do anything but purée them, and mango purée always puts me in a cheesecake sort of mood. And since the week's contest theme was gluten-free baking, why not come up with something appropriate thereto for the crust. Mangos and ginger have a great love for each other, so Gluten-Free Gingersnaps were born. To brighten the flavor of the crust a touch, I added some cubes of crystallized ginger to the mix.
A note about using a springform pan. I like to line the bottom with a circle of parchment. This way, when it's time to serve, you can work a long, flat spatula underneath the parchment and gently loosen the cheesecake and slide it off onto whatever you're going to use to present it. True, when cutting, you'll need to be careful not to serve the parchment along with slices of cheesecake, but you also won't be cutting on that pebbled surface. It makes me shiver just thinking about it.
This is for my friend, Leslie, recently diagnosed as gluten-intolerant. She is enormously gracious with all of us who forget that. —boulangere
For the Crust
6 to 8
Zest from 1 lime
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
cubes crystallized ginger
ounce butter, melted
For the Filling
pounds cream cheese, room temp
Juice of 1 lime, 2 if it's small or on the dry side
Pulp from 2 mangoes, puréed
tablespoon fresh lime juice
Whipped cream for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10" springform pan with parchment cut to fit. Set a pot containing a couple of quarts of water on the stove to heat.
- To make the crust, first make the G.F.G.S. Break up 6 or 8 of them (depending on size) and drop into the bowl of a food processor. Add all the other ingredients except the butter and pulse until mixture resembles corn meal. Stop the machine and make a fist around a small handful of the mixture. If it holds together, you don't need to add any more butter - there's quite a bit in the cookies. If it doesn't, add the melted butter and pulse to blend in. Scatter crust mixture evenly around the bottom of your pan and with your flat palm, press evenly all over surface and around edges to pack the crust tightly.
- When I'm going to be making cheesecake, I set the cream cheese out overnight. Actually, I hide it in the oven so that none of the several 4-legged creatures for whom I work can take matters into their own paws and do something quite different with it. The point is that it will emulsify much better with the sugar and eggs if at room temp. So will the eggs if you rest them for 5 minutes in warm (not hot!) water.
- First peel the mangoes, remove the pulp, and purée it with 1 tablespoon of lime juice in a food processor or with an immersion blender.
- Begin by mixing the cream cheese and sugar together on lowest speed until no visible lumps remain. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and bottom of bowl, then raise bowl and mix in what you just scraped loose.
- Crack all eggs into a liquid measuring cup. Do not whisk them together! With mixer running on lowest speed, add them one at a time, allowing each to be fully incorporated before adding the next. When all have been added, again stop the mixer and thoroughly scrape the inside of the bowl, then mix again to incorporate everything. Last, mix in the lime juice.
- Pour all but about a cup (eyeball it) of filling into your pan. Add the mango purée to the filling remaining in the bowl. Return it to the mixer and mix on low speed to fully blend. Pour the mango filling right into the center of the first filling. Let it level out. To create the marbled effect, get a paring knife. Working in interconnected figure 8s, move the knife from the outer edge to the center, and back out again. Work in 1 continuous, fluid movement, gently rotating the pan all the while. Be careful not to scrape up filling from the bottom.
- Set your springform pan in the center of a baking sheet. Set it in the oven with the front edge of the baking sheet extending out over the front edge of the oven rack. Carefully pour your hot water into the baking sheet, filling it almost to the lip. You'll spill some, so do try to miss your feet ; ) Carefully slide the sheet the rest of the way into the oven. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes. When done, you will be able to gently nudge the edge of the springform pan, and the contents will "jiggle like Jello, not wiggle like a wave," to quote the inimitable Chef Jake. Also, the top should be just slightly dry to a careful touch. It should by no means be cracked!
- Using oven mitts or potholders, carefully lift your pan out of the hot water. Leave the pan of hot water in the oven with door ajar until it is cool enough to tiptoe across the kitchen with it, trying not to spill any. Though by now, you won't have to watch out for your toes. Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temp until you can comfortably handle the pan with bare hands, then refrigerate uncovered overnight.
- The next day, run hot water into a sink to a depth of a couple of inches. Set your springform pan it, and count to 15. Remove and set on a towel. Run a paring knife or a small offset spatula all the way around the edge of the pan. Release the latch, and gently remove the ring. Use a longer spatula to carefully slide your cheesecake off the base and onto whatever you plan to serve it on.
- The easiest way to cut a cheesecake is with a hot, wet, flat-bladed knife. I use my long serrated slicer. Run it under hot water, give it a shake, and make your first cut. Rinse the knife, give it a shake, and make your next cut. Serve up a piece of this beauty, add a dollop of whipped cream, maybe a nasturtium blossom for its coordinating color, and enjoy.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Gluten-Free Baked Good