Italian plums at the market:
I agreed to participate in this cooking challenge two days before leaving for Italy. I got my book and the next day, headed to the airport for two weeks in my favorite place on earth. While visiting several produce markets, I kept thinking, PLUMS! When I returned, I decided to try a cheesecake with an Italian twist topped with plums and a ginger crust.
For the Crust:
1 1/4 c. gingersnap crumbs
1/4 c. BROWN SUGAR
5 T. unsalted butter, melted
Mix crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter, and blend thoroughly with a fork. Press into the bottom of a 9" springform pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Let cool.
2 7-8 oz. containers mascarpone
12 oz. cream cheese
3/4 c. SUGAR
1 t. VANILLA
1 t. LEMON JUICE
Beat mascarpone and cream cheese (room temp) until smooth. Add sugar and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Pour into cooled crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 and bake another 25 minutes. Turn off oven, and leave cheesecake in the oven for 30 more minutes. Cool on rack, cover and refrigerate until ready for the plum topping.
6 large red plums (cut in half, then pitted and sliced)
3/4 c. ORANGE JUICE
1/2 c. red currant jelly
1/4 c. BROWN SUGAR
3 slices of fresh ginger
Whisk together orange juice, jelly, brown sugar and ginger in a skillet. Stir over medium heat until sugar and jelly have melted. Increase heat slightly and add sliced plums. When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Remove plums with a slotted spoon. Increase heat again and bring liquid to a boil for 6-7 minutes, until reduced by half. Cover and chill plums and glaze until ready to assemble.
Arrange cooled plums on top of cheesecake.
Brush with glaze, slice and serve. Melt glaze to spreadable consistency in microwave for 30 seconds if necessary.