Chai is again an inspiration for a holiday treat that can be made ahead of time (I'm cooking enough on Christmas Eve so making dessert in advance is always something I love).
2 cups finely ground ginger flavored cookies
1/4 cup finely diced crystallized ginger
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
6 chai teabags
1/2 cup boiling water
4 packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup Hood Sour Cream
4 eggs, room temperature
WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM:
4 oz. good quality white chocolate
1 cup Hood Sour Cream
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Chilling Time: at least 3-4 hours or overnight
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover the outside of a 9-inch spring form pan with aluminum foil and place pan on a 9" x 16" or similar baking sheet.
To make the crust, in a medium-sized bowl, stir together the ground cookies, crystallized ginger and the melted butter. Press the mixture in the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the spring form pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes.
To make the filling, steep the teabags in the 1/2 cup boiling water in a small bowl for 10 minutes. In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar and 1 cup of Hood Sour Cream until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, pulse or blend after each addition just until eggs are incorporated. Press the teabags against the side of the small bowl to completely drain; discard teabags.
Add the steeped tea to the cheesecake batter and process or blend just until combined. Pour the batter over the cooled crust. Place the cheesecake on the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. On the bottom rack, place a 13" x 9" pan filled with hot water. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 25 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and center is set. Turn off the oven, open door slightly and let cake stay in the oven for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack. Run a sharp knife around the outside edges of the cheesecake, but do not release the sides.
To make the white chocolate cream, melt the white chocolate in a medium-sized bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Fold the melted chocolate into the sour cream. Spread the white chocolate cream over the cheesecake. Chill the cheesecake in the pan for at least 3 hours until firm. Release the sides of the pan and transfer to a serving platter; cut into wedges to serve.