Sunday, February 20, 2011
More Asian Treats
What do you do when you have a half day?
a) go home and crawl back into bed
b) plan for the next week
If you chose c), you've won my heart! I swear, I cook other things besides baked goods (most recently, soup, but it wasn't very photogenic ..), and in fact, I have some cleanse meals coming up. However, in light of this extra long weekend, made extra because of my half day off on Friday, and a get-together with friends, I've done some extra baking.
What did I bake, you ask? I thought you'd never ask. First, I made these deep, dark chocolatey bites of cookie goodness -- like a brownie in cookie form! You can get the recipe here. Totally worth splurging for the really good stuff.
Then, I tried something different .. behold: the Japanese Cotton Soft Cheesecake. Intrigued? So was I. I first discovered this recipe around Christmas time when I was requested to bake a cheesecake for our annual post-Christmas-pre-New-Year's potluck and game night. At the time, I chose something more traditional, but I didn't forget about it. I thought about it again when the prospect of filling up a half day off from work came up. A perfect time to experiment.
It's a very different recipe from all other cheesecake recipes I've seen. You melt the cream cheese with a little milk and butter. And you whip the egg whites. There's a tiny bit of flour and corn starch to stabilize it, and there's no crust. It's flavoured very subtly with lemon juice and the texture is truly cotton soft: very light and airy, but still having that distinctive, creamy rich cheesecakiness. Pretty easy to make (once you get past whipping the egg whites which I had to do by hand ... oh and be careful when pouring water into the pan for your bain marie. Just so you know, a little splash of boiling water in the cheesecake batter won't hurt it at all ...), and very easy to eat. I like it because it's a rich, creamy treat, but it's not too over-the-top like most cheesecakes can be. Next time I make this, I'm going to try it with a really good cream cheese instead of the PC light cream cheese that was on sale -- mind you, it was still really good, but I think ricotta might work really well, or a New York style whipped cream cheese.
The only hitch: All the recipes I found used weighted measures (so no cups and tablespoons, more like ounces and grams) which can be a drag if you don't have a kitchen scale. I've tried to estimate the amounts for you, but you'd better be safe and go with the scale if you have one. Go try it. And tell me how you like it. I'll wait ... Go on..
Japanese Cotton Soft Cheesecake
via Fat About Food: I've cut the recipe in half and it still makes lots.
125 g (1/2 cup) of cream cheese
1 oz (2 tablespoons) of butter
50 ml (3 tablespoons) of milk (I used soy just because that's all I had)
juice of half a lemon
3 eggs, separated
2.5 oz (about 1/4 cup) of white sugar
1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar (or baking powder)
1 oz (about 2.5 tablespoons) of flour
0.5 oz (about 1 tablespoon) of cornstarch
1. Sift the cornstarch and the flour together and set aside.
2. Combine the sugar and the cream of tartar (or baking powder) in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Melt the butter, cream cheese and milk (if you want, you can use the double boiler method, but I didn't bother) over low heat until everything is combined. Cool for about 2 minutes.
4. Separate the eggs. Combine the lemon juice with the egg yolks, and then add this mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Stir well to combine. Add the flour and cornstarch and fold to combine. Do not over mix.
5. Beat the egg whites, slowly adding the sugar and cream of tartar mixture. Beat until the egg whites form soft peaks and get nice and glossy.
6. Add the egg whites to the cream cheese mixture (in three additions), folding slowly until everything is combined. Pour the batter into a parchment-lined cake pan. Place this cake pan in a larger cake pan, and fill half way with boiling water.
7. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until the top gets nice and brown and the cake is set.
8. Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool. Best enjoyed in little cottony-soft bitelets.
The Green Beanery: vanilla soy latte, cappuccino, drip coffee, enjoyed later in the evening with little dark chocolates
Red Rocket (Leslieville): vanilla soy latte, spicy Red Rocket (double shot of esspress, chocolate syrup and medium roast coffee), and a Green Bee (green tea, honey and steamed milk)