Sunday, March 11, 2018

Japanese Cheesecake

My son Alex, who was in Japan for 2 years, has asked me a couple of times to make Japanese cheesecake. I've never had it before, so I didn't know what it was supposed to look or taste like and the recipe was a little intimidating to me with the soft peak egg whites folded in. Today was a big family party and Alex suggested this for his dessert, so I decided to give it a try and used the recipe at Run Away Rice. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be and we like it. Even my pickiest child liked it. 

It's not very sweet and it's not like the cheesecake we're used to. It's more like a soufflé or spongecake with cream cheese mixed in. Alex had only eaten it plain, but I stirred up some berry topping and served it on the side. 

Eggs separate better when cold, so it's best to separate them and then let them get to room temperature. This recipe calls for low-fat milk, but I used skim milk. The water bath helps with even baking and helps avoid cracking on the top. This recipe makes an 8-inch cake, but while it cools, it shrinks a bit. I was a little surprised at how little the cake was, but it's cute and yummy.

Japanese Cheesecake

5 large eggs, divided, room temperature
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/2 c. sugar, divided
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. low-fat milk
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 c. flour
2 T. cornstarch

Line the bottom and side of the springform pan with parchment paper. Wrap the springform pan with several sheets of foil, sealing it completely. Fill a large baking pan halfway with water. Place it in the oven on the lowest rack. Preheat the oven to 315°.

Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add ¼ cup sugar and mix until smooth. Add milk and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix for another minute. Finally add the egg yolks and mix for 1 more minute.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites on Low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to Medium Low and beat for another 30 seconds or until foamy. Add the cream of tartar. Increase the speed to Medium High and beat until the egg whites just start to thicken. Add 1/4 cup sugar gradually. Continue beating until the egg whites reach the soft peaks stage (approximately 3 minutes using a stand mixer).

To the cream cheese mixture, add 1/3 of the egg whites and gently fold into the batter until mostly incorporated. Add another 1/3 and gently fold. Add the remaining 1/3 and gently fold.

Pour the batter into the lined springform pan. Spread the batter evenly into the pan and smooth out the top using a spatula. Holding the side of the pan, gently lift and drop the pan on the counter a few times to remove any big air bubbles.
Place the springform pan into the water bath and bake the cake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Check the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. It should come out clean. Bake the cake for an additional 10-15 minutes to brown the top if not browned.
Turn off the oven and open the oven door slightly (about 2-3 inches) and let cheesecake cool in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove cheesecake from the pan. Place on a plate and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Dust with powdered sugar and serve alone or with fresh fruit or favorite cheesecake topping. Cover and refrigerate to store for up to a week.

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