Cheesecake that isn't really like cheesecake is not a misnomer and even then technically it is cheesecake if you look at the ingredients list. Thoroughly confused? Allow me to explain or possibly confuse you a little further. One type of Japanese cheesecake is a soft cotton chesecake that people go in raptures over. It's so very different from your usual cheescake in that it's light as a feather and like a cross between a cheesecake and a sponge cake courtesy of the whipped half dozen egg whites. Another distinctive feature is that of the eater - the ability to scoff 3 pieces of this cake easily without feeling like you've eaten anything at all. Yes it's dangerous stuff. Don't say you weren't warned.
I'd first eaten this cheesecake in Japan where I lived for a couple of years. Like everything there they do their own version of a western style dish and the offerings are invariably lighter than the original version to suit the Japanese palate (the exception of course being the pizzas which are laden down with a slew of toppings including tuna, corn and mayonnaise, a personal favourite). But I digress, we were talking about cheesecake weren't we? The Japanese also do a chilled cheesecake called "rare cheese" which is simply an unbaked cheesecake with gelatin used to set it (nothing to do with rare or exotic ingredients). Never did I see a true baked cheesecake while there and I used to scour the depato (department store) floors looking for things to eat. The department stores were wonderful and open until 8pm most nights (ugh I wish they did that here!) so often late after work you'd find me walking up and down the aisles looking for my next sugary fix like a food addict. It wasn't a pretty sight and I'm sure some of those department store ladies must have whispered to each other "She just stands there and just _stares _at the food".
I made one attempt to make this and I didn't stir the egg whites enough so the egg yolks sank to the bottom while the fluffy whites stayed at the top. It was perfectly edible, delicious even but it wasn't right so I made another ensuring that I folded the egg whites in properly. Then I saw a recipe on a blog which had a middle layer of Rare Blueberry Cheesecake which I thought was utter genius! So I made that while the other cake was cooling.
The cake itself is gorgeous and the key thing is that it's light but not too sweet. It's for the people who are always saying that desserts are too sweet for them and perhaps go for the cheese plate option at a restaurant. It's not savoury though but the lack of rich cloying sweetness does mean that several slices can be inhaled at any one time so I give this recipe with some caution. Beware as it's the kind of dessert you may find yourself cutting off slice after slice muttering quietly to yourself "Just one little sliver more".
So tell me Dear Reader, what's your addiction food? The one where you just cannot stop at one piece?
And yes it's Wednesday again so here's your Wallpaper Wednesday Wallpaper! I hope you like it!
Japanese Soft Cotton Blueberry Rare Cheese Cheesecake
For soft cotton cheesecake
- 50g/2 ozs butter
- 250g/9 ozs cream cheese
- 100 ml/3 fl ozs milk
- 60g/2 ozs plain flour
- 20g/1 oz cornflour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 150g/5 ozs fine granulated sugar
- 6 eggs separated
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
For Rare Cheese cheesecake
- 100gm fresh or frozen blueberries
- 125gm cream cheese
- 100gm fresh cream
- 3 tbsp fresh milk
- 30gm sugar
- ¼ tbsp lemon juice
- 2½ tsp gelatin
- ¼ cup hot water
- a handful of fresh blueberries (about 1 oz/30g)
- Whipped cream in a piping bag with a star tip
Instructions for soft cotton cheesecake:
Step 1 - Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture over an ice bath. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, 6 egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well.
Step 2 - Whisk 6 egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
Step 3 - Place a kettlefull of water to boil. Add one third of the egg white mixture to the cheese mixture to loosen. Then add the rest in third batches and mix well and ensure that the egg whites are thoroughly combined gently. Pour into a 8-inch round cake pan (lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of the pan with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper). Wrap two layers of foil around the tin to prevent water seeping in. Place in a large baking dish.
Step 4 - Carefully pour the boiling water around the cheesecake to make a water bath. Bake cheesecake in the water bath for 1 hours 10 minutes or until set and golden brown at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F). Chill thoroughly.
Makes 1 (8-inch) cheesecake, 12 servings.
Instructions for Blueberry Rare Cheese cheesecake
Step 5 - Line the same 8 inch springform baking tin with parchment. In a small bowl, mix together gelatin with hot water and stir briskly with a fork until all of the gelatine is dissolved.
Step 6 - Blend all remaining ingredients in a food processor. Add gelatine mixture and pulse until mixed. Scrape into prepared tin and cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until set.
Step 7 - Slice completely cold soft cotton cheesecake in half horizontally. Try and do a better job than I did, it won't be hard! Carefully lift the top half off touching it on the base (if you touch the browned top, the top will come off onto your hand - trust me on that). Remove parchment from sides of rare cheesecake and place face down onto the bottom half of the soft cotton cheesecake. Peel off the parchment from the blueberry cheese layer. Then lift the top layer of soft cotton cheesecake and place on top. Using a large palette knife scrape gently along the edges to even the sides of the blueberry layer.
Step 8 - Pipe with whipped cream and place fresh blueberries in the centre.