Monday, July 18, 2011

Confessions of a Shakespearean Cheesecake

Kiss me Kate!

After feasting all evening on delicious meats, cheeses, salsas, crackers, cakes and various wines, our merry group climbed up the steep wooded hill and stepped into the magical outdoor theater at American Players Theater in Spring Green, Wisconsin. I was there that evening to see Taming of the Shrew with some very dear friends and their family. It was also my daughters first time visiting this amazing theater. I was thrilled to be there with her as she became enchanted with the magic of eating outdoors, wandering musicians, and viewing a Shakespeaean play that was a touch too bawdy and filled with humor that a fourteen year old was just beginning to catch on to. Thirty minutes into the play she finally understood why her Young Shakespeares Players has never done that play before!  

Good friends enjoying the evening....the warmth, the wine, the food...

APT, as we call it around here, is hard to describe. From one road that kisses the Wisconsin river, you turn off onto another road that drops you at the bottom of a hill, dotted with prairie plans, picnic tables, people, silence, woods and peace. Many of us may are accustomed to eating in our backyards, wrapping our neighborhoods in wood smoke from our fires and grills, and conveniently being able to walk back to the kitchen if we have forgotten anything. Eating outdoors in the beautiful setting provided at APT is a delight to the senses. There is no going back if you have forgotten something as many of us are at least an hour from home. You must remember to ice the wine, tablecloths, napkins, candles (for ambiance),  the wine glasses, drinks for the kids, the fine cheeses, salads, meats and of course.... dessert!

I volunteered to bring along a dessert. I was hoping to make one of my layer cakes, dripping with the fruits of the season, when I realized how hot it was going to be and how I did not feel safe driving the cake for an hour. Last time I drove with a layer cake, I lost two layers and had to piece the thing back together uopn arrival, not so cool when you were in charge of the birthday cake! I opted for a lemon ginger cheesecake. Lemon for the color of the sun and the fresh summery taste, and ginger to represent the hot, steamy evening and the sassy play that would follow.

Luckily I do not need taming (my husband may beg to differ) and I am not a shrew. For if I did need taming, I would hate to have my husband withhold food from me as dear Petruchio does with Kate during the play.

Lemon Ginger Cheesecake - Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients for Crust
9 oz. finely ground gingersnap cookies - Trader Joes makes amazing thin gingersnaps
2 TBS Sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

4- 8oz. softened cream cheese - room temp - take out morning of
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temp.
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons

Oven to 325. Grease a 10" springform pan with 2 and 3/4 inch high sides. Double wrap the outside with heavy-duty foil. Blend ground cookies, sugar and ginger in the food processor. Add melted butter and process until moist crumbs form. Press onto the bottom of the pan,1/2 inch up on the sides. Bake 10 minutes, cool, keep over at 325.

Filling prep:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Add in sugar, and eggs, 1 at a time. Scraping bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and whipping cream. Add in lemon juice, lemon peel and sift in the powdered ginger.

Pour filling into crust. Place pan on a large rimmed cookie sheet, roasting pan, something with about a 1" lip to it. Place in oven. While in oven, pour hot/boiling water into the pan, 1 inch up the sides. Folks, this works well with a jellyroll pan. Do the water bath, do not fear. If I can you can.  My cheesecake came out with no cracks and was delicious. Put it in the oven for about 1 hour and 25 minutes. Turn off oven and prop door open with wooden spoon. Let cake cool slowly for an hour.

Remove pan from water bath. Remove foil and cool cheesecake completely. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight or for several days. Can be frozen for up to two months. Serve with fresh berries. Delicious.

Kiss me Kate! And a piece of cheesecake please! xoxo Megan


  1. cheesecake and Shakespeare -- a newly found match made in heaven -- the festival looks like a lot of fun, and your cheesecake sounds delicious! Theresa

  2. Hi Megan dear, yes I am doing OK! I think you're doing well too. Enjoying your life with all the loving people around is simply heavenly. I'm sure you had the best time of your life. The food look incredible too.
    Hope to hear from you more often. Take care, dear.
    Blessings, Kristy

  3. delicious looking cheesecake ginger flavour for the crust sounds wonderful

  4. Que bonito...y que rico el pastel...
    muchos besos

  5. What a delicious looking cheesecake! Looks like you had a fabulous time! :)

  6. What a sweet contribution! I've never been there--sounds fun!

  7. I love outdoor theater and outdoor shakespeare festivals. What a fun evening. And I would love a piece of that cheesecake!

  8. What a great looking cheesecake! That's a fun evening with good friends and good food.

  9. I love cheesecakes n so does my 5 yr old son.Haven't ventured beyond the simple version, though. Will try this out with lemon and ginger and see how it goes.
    Beautifully written post n the cake looks deliciously tempting!

  10. this cheesecake looks so delicious :)


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