Since I knew I'd be having a dinner of homemade Indian food while up in Boston, I decided to make something a little out of the ordinary for dessert to bring up. Being me, I of course chose a cheesecake, but this time I tried my hand at a masala-spiced cheesecake. I call it a "chai cheesecake" because in the US, "chai" tea often means masala-spiced, since chai just means tea.
To make this cheesecake, I took a basic cream cheese and mascarpone cheesecake and added some spices to both the filling and the crust. The recipe I used was a variation on this one that I found at Epicurious.
Adapted from this recipe at Epicurious
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp granulated sugar
4 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp ground ginger
2 8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 8 oz package mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Place a casserole dish full of water on the oven's bottom rack.
In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust and mix together with a fork. Line the bottom of the pan with the mixture and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, combine the cheeses and sugar for the filling. Mix until smooth. Add the eggs, one ad a time and mix until smooth. Add the egg yolks. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix until smooth. Poor the filling into the pan and bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven down to 200 and continue baking until the cake is set around the edges. Turn off oven and open door to cool for 15 minutes. Let the cake cool slowly before putting it in the refrigerator.
For the topping, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and spread over the top of the cake.
Let the cake cool in a refrigerator overnight.
This was a really delicious cheesecake variation that turned out to be a hit with some who tend not to care for cheesecakes in general. It's not very difficult and worth trying if you'd like a different take on a standard cheesecake.