Guest chef

Felicity Cloake

The recipes in The A-Z Of Eating are all themed around Felicity Cloake's favourite ingredients (A is for Almond, B is for Blue Cheese, C is for Caramel and so on). Each chapter opener contains a fascinating introduction to the ingredient, blending history, food science, and much more.

follow on twitter

Spiced pear and ginger cheesecake with a dark chocolate crumb

  • Serves 12
  • Prep 30 mins
  • Total time 35 mins, plus soaking, cooling and chilling
4.0/5 rating (3 votes)
Spiced pear and ginger cheesecake with a dark chocolate crumb
Spiced pear and ginger cheesecake with a dark chocolate crumb

step by step

  • 1For the pear topping, heat the cranberry juice, sugar and root ginger together in a large saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the liquid starts to simmer. Add the pears and cover with baking paper to keep them submerged. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to cool completely – this will take a couple of hours, but they can be left in the liquid overnight. They will turn pink as they cool.
  • 2Put the ricotta in a sieve set over a bowl and leave to drain. Lightly grease a 23cm round springform tin. Put the biscuits in a food processor, whiz to crumbs, then add the butter, cocoa and salt; whiz again. Press the mixture into the base of the tin and chill for at least 20 minutes while you make the filling.
  • Lighter than the baked variety, and much easier to make, this cheesecake, studded with spicy ginger and topped with caramelised pears, can be made well ahead of time.
  • 3Add the gelatine leaves, one at a time, to a bowl of cold water and leave for 5 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, heat the lemon juice until simmering, then remove from the heat. Remove the gelatine from the water, squeezing out any excess, then add to the lemon juice and stir until dissolved.
  • 4Put the cream cheese in a large bowl, add the ricotta and beat together until smooth. Stir in the gelatine mixture until combined, then stir in 4 tablespoons of the stem ginger syrup and taste – add more if you prefer it sweeter. Stir in the stem ginger and spoon the mixture onto the base, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight, until firm.
  • 5An hour before you want to serve the cheesecake, strain the pears over a pan and discard the root ginger. Bring the cooking liquor to the boil and simmer rapidly for 10 minutes or until reduced and syrupy. Leave to cool.
  • 6To serve, loosen the cheesecake all the way around with a knife and carefully remove from the tin. Transfer to a platter or cake stand. Arrange the cooled sliced pears on top, spoon over the syrup and scatter with chopped stem ginger.
  • Recipe photograph by Toby Scott

Get ahead

Prepare to the end of step 4 the day before, keeping the cheesecake and pears separate and chilled.

You will need

For the pear topping

  • 500ml cranberry juice drink
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 25g root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 4 small firm pears, peeled, cored and quartered lengthways
  • 1 ball of stem ginger, roughly chopped

For the cheesecake

  • 750g ricotta
  • 50g butter, melted, plus extra to grease
  • 250g dark chocolate digestives
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 sheets Dr Oetker leaf gelatine
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 280g full-fat cream cheese (we used Philadelphia)
  • 5 balls of stem ginger, finely chopped, plus 4-6 tbsp of the syrup

+ Nutritional Information