They may not be roasted on an open fire, but the finely ground chestnuts added to the cheesecake impart a buttery, nutty flavor and a pleasing texture. Sugared herbs make enchanting garnishes—simply brush with beaten egg whites, sprinkle with granulated sugar to coat, and let dry before using.
Makes 1 (9½-inch) cake
- 2½ cups crushed thin ginger cookies
- 1½ cups sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 (16-ounce) containers sour cream, room temperature
- 2 cups roasted chestnuts, finely ground
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Garnish: sugared thyme
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse together cookies, ¼ cup sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt. With processor running, pour melted butter and egg white through food chute in a slow, steady stream until combined.
- Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9½-inch springform pan.
- Bake until edges just begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool. Wrap heavy-duty foil around bottom and sides of pan to secure seal. (This step is vital in preventing water from seeping into pan.)
- In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer at medium speed until creamy.
- Gradually add remaining 1¼ cups sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon salt, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, chestnuts, and vanilla extract, beating until just combined. Pour into prepared springform pan.
- Place springform pan in a deep pan, and pour enough boiling water into outer pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Bake until center is nearly set, 50 to 65 minutes. Turn oven off, open oven door slightly, and let cheesecake rest for 20 minutes. Carefully remove from oven.
- Remove pan from water bath, and remove foil. Run a knife around edges of cheesecake to release sides. Remove pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Garnish with sugared thyme, if desired.
For more delectable additions to the holiday sideboard, see “Ambrosial Fare” on page 73 of the Holiday Bliss 2017 issue of Victoria Classics.