Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

cheesecake     cheesecake2

In the past, I have likened some desserts to a fairy princess, Southern Belle, expensive call girl, or empress.  This dessert is a prima ballerina – light, airy, delicate, but structured and sometimes difficult.  However, if handled correctly, you end up with a masterpiece.   This is a lovely dessert for any occasion.  With the advent of Spring, my heart (and tummy) turned to this dessert with longing.

Unlike heavy cheesy cheesecakes, Japanese cheesecakes are not as sweet and sort of a cross between a soufflé, a chiffon cake, a cheesecake.  “Cotton” in the name should tell you all you need to know.

IMPORTANT STUFF:  NO NO NO substitutions.  Use store-bought cake flour.  Use whole milk.  Butter, and superfine sugar.  If you can’t find any, grind some in your food processor or blender.  Sometimes superfine sugar is known as Bar Sugar.

Fold in well to ensure the whites are evenly distributed through the mixture.  Garnish with fruit or sifted cocoa or green tea powder.   A teaspoon of fresh lemon juice or vanilla can be added to the cooled butter, cheese, and milk mixture.

 

Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

9 oz. cream cheese (one 8 oz. brick plus 1 oz. of another brick)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup fresh, whole milk

6 eggs, room temperature – whites and yolks separated

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup extra fine granulated sugar

1/3 cup plus 1 tsp. cake flour

3 tbsp. corn starch

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Melt cream cheese, butter and milk in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Stir occasionally to break up cream cheese and combine the ingredients.  Remove bowl from heat and allow to cool. Mixture will be thick.  If lumpy, use a whisk to vigorously beat the mixture until smooth. Set aside.

 When mixture has cooled, fold in the egg yolks, flour and corn starch.  Fold until thoroughly incorporated.  In a large bowl, whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and mix again, gradually adding the extra-fine sugar a little at a time until soft peaks form.  Note: Soft peaks:  mixture should be white and opaque, and meringue will fall onto itself when the beaters are lifted from the bowl.

Add the cheese mixture to the egg white mixture and fold together until well incorporated.

Pour into an 8-inch round spring-form pan that has been lightly greased and lined (sides and bottom) with parchment paper.  Place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the cake so it does not brown.

Bake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes.  Set timer for 1 hour 10 minutes.  When timer sounds, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes with the oven door cracked.  Carefully remove pan from water bath and let stand until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Remove spring-form ring,  let cool,  and serve.     Yield:  1 8” cheesecake

Purin – Japanese Dessert Custard

 

All around the world, there are variants of this recipe – flan, crème brulee’, leche flan, caramel crème…The Japanese version is softer ,  more delicate, less sweet.  It is a delicious end to a heavy meal or an excellent light dessert to serve with a cold plate, salady luncheon.  I like to chill and then unmold on a plate and serve with some fresh cut fruit to garnish – strawberries, blueberries, aspic cutter flowers of thin sliced melons, thin slices or half moons of kiwi….. 

If The Kentucky Bourbon Cake (see recipe under a previous post) is a luxurious and expensive call girl of a dessert, this dessert is a fairy princess.

 Ingredients and Instructions

CUSTARD

2 cups whole milk

2/3 c. sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp. good vanilla extract

Butter (for greasing custard cups/molds) 

SAUCE

6 tbs sugar

2 tbs water + 1 tbs warm water 

Butter six custard cups/molds.  Heat 2 tbs. water in a sauce pan.  Add 6 tbs. of sugar and simmer until the sauce is browned (be careful not to let it burn!)  Carefully add 1 tbs. warm water to thin the sauce.  Pour sauce equally into the molds and carefully swirl around the bottom.  Put milk into a medium saucepan and heat to about 140 F.  Dissolve 2/3 cup sugar in the milk and add vanilla extract. Cut off the heat.  Lightly beat eggs in a bowl.  Gradually add warm milk to egg mixture, stirring so you don’t get sweet scrambled eggs.  Run the mixture through a strainer and scoop out some bubbles from the surface of the egg mixture.   Pour mixture over the sauce in the molds.  Please the pudding in a steamer and steam for about 15 – 20 minutes on low heat. Cut off the heat and let them cool.  Remove pudding from the molds and serve on plates.  If you don’t have a steamer, use bain marie method, covering the whole with foil.  ***Be careful lifting the foil or opening the steamer. 

custard 1 

 

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