ginger in baking recipes
- A Fish Called Wanda Nov 29, 2004 02:45 PM
I have a pumpkin cheesecake recipe that calls for ginger (I think they mean the dried powder ginger that is sold as a spice). Can I use finely grated fresh ginger (I can get it to the pureed consistency using a microplane grater)? Would the proportions be about the same?
I think that would be very interesting to use fresh ginger, but you need a lot more of it-- like 3 or 4 times as much as the dried version is the general rule, I think. I have some dried whole ginger root at home, and they are about 1/3 the size of a fresh ginger root. Incidentally, these are a great option -- they don't get stale like already ground ginger, and it grates to a powder very easily with a microplane.
Powdered dried ginger has less flavor than fresh--I know that in most leafy herbs, the flavor is concentrated by removing the water in the drying process, so it is suggested that one use 3-4 times as much fresh herb as dried.
This does not carry over into fresh ginger root garlic or onion--in those cases, the dried versions have much less flavor. Try tasting them side by side.
3-4 times the amount of fresh ginger as ground in a cheesecake recipe would be distinctly overpowering.
re: culinary nerd
I would have agreed with you a month ago, before I got my whole dried ginger root from Penzey's. I was stunned at how potent the freshly powdered stuff was. a teaspoon of fresh ginger would not be as strong as a teaspoon of what I had. It's definitely a different taste, though, and you're right, 3 to 4 times as much is too much (9 teaspoons!). And if you're talking about already ground, fresh is stronger.
I would go at LEAST one to one, probably more, but I really like ginger.
I would use fresh ginger, but not three or four times the amount dried, unless you REALLY like ginger. I think you would be safe using the same amount as is called for dry. And of course, start with a small amount, taste, and adjust.
Incidently, too much fresh ginger can curdle milk when heated together - I found this out a few years ago when I was working on a ginger creme anglaise recipe and trying to get it extra-zingy by adding fresh ginger juice. Not to worry you, cheesecake batter would probably be a lot more difficult to curdle.
Another point: it shouldn't make much difference in something like pumpkin pie or cheesecake, but as I learned the hard way, using fresh ginger in a recipe designed for powdered or crystallized adds extra moisture, which may affect some recipes.