Japanese Soufflé Cheesecake

All men love cheesecake. At least, that’s what my mother claims. I’m not so sure that gender identity has anything to do with dessert preference, but I do know that it made me chuckle to make a cheesecake on International Women’s Day, just because it should presumably be made for the men in my life. Whatevs.

If you’re looking for a rich, dense, New York-style cheesecake, try googling New York Cheesecake because this recipe will leave you sorely disappointed. While completely different from what I traditionally think of as cheesecake, this Japanese Soufflé Cheesecake is a delight in its own special way. It has all the flavor of a cheesecake- creamy, hints of subtle lemon- but rather than being dense and creamy it is light, airy, and jiggly.

The first time I made this recipe was for our quarterly Supper Club Japanese Night. We were tasked with the dessert course and I found the recipe on the fantastic website Just One Cookbook . While the recipe is somewhat involved, it is well worth the effort. It’s been nearly two years since I last made one, but alas, we are hosting another Japanese Supper Club tonight and I couldn’t resist. Along with some homemade Mochi Ice Cream, we will be fat, happy, and sugar high later this evening.

Japanese Soufflé Cheesecake
Recipe from Just One Cookbook

Ingredients

6 large eggs (separated)
300 g cream cheese (10.6 ounces)
60 g unsalted butter (4 tbsp)
200 g heavy whipping cream (200 ml)
60 g sugar (5 tbsp)
80 g cake flour (9 tbsp)
zest of one lemon
30 g lemon juice (about one lemon)
100 g sugar (8.5 tbsp-this is for beating into the egg whites)
2 tbsp apricot jam (for glaze)
2 tsp hot water (for glaze)

Instructions

Prepare your cake pan (you will need a 9 or 10 inch pan with very high sides- 3-4 inches high). A springform pan can work for this if you don’t have a cake pan with high enough sides, just be sure to wrap the bottom with foil before placing it in the water bath! Cut two parchment strips to be criss-crossed at the bottom of the pan. You will use these crossed strips to help lift the cake out of the pan later. Place those at the bottom of the greased pan (I use cooking spray). Then cut a parchment circle to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay this over the crossed strips. Finally, cut long strips to line the sides of the pan (3-4 inches wide to come up the sides of the pan). If you want a visual aid, head over to Just One Cookbook– her recipe has fantastic pictures of how to do all of this.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180C). You’ll bake the cake at 320, but when you open the oven it will quickly cool, so don’t turn it down to 320F until you’ve placed the cake in the oven.

Separate your eggs- place the whites in the bowl of your stand mixer, and put them in the fridge until you’re ready to whip them into oblivion.

Set up a double boiler (a medium sized pot with a couple inches of simmering water), and place a glass or metal mixing bowl with your cream cheese, butter, heavy cream, and the 60g of sugar. Stir this until the butter and cream cheese are melted. Remove from heat and whisk until very smooth.

Into the warm cream cheese mixture, gradually add the 6 egg yolks, one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.

Using a fine mesh strainer, sift the cake flour into this batter, whisking until smooth.

With the same mesh strainer, strain this mixture into a clean, large bowl.

Zest your lemon into the strained mixture, and then squeeze the juice of the lemon into the batter as well, mixing until completely combined. Set this bowl aside.

Put a baking sheet into the oven and pour some very hot/boiling water onto the sheet pan so that it comes up at least half an inch. This is your Bain Marie – hey cute French name for a sheet pan full of water.

Go to the fridge and get out your bowl of chilly egg whites.

Mix your egg whites on medium speed until they start to get frothy. Then slowly add about a third of the remaining 100g of sugar. Turn your mixer speed up a notch or two, and add another third. After that has whipped up a bit, add the final third and beat until soft peaks form (this looks like thick, white, marshmallowy egg whites- when you take the beaters out you should see the egg white be a little floppy, not too stiff, not too soft!).

Fold one third of the whipped egg whites into the batter, whisking until combined. Then add another third and gently fold it into the batter. Finally empty this folded mixture back into the egg white bowl with the remaining egg whites and fold those in ever so gently.

Take your batter and gently, but quickly put it into the prepared cake pan. Place the cake pan on the sheet pan full of water and close the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 320F and bake for 70-75 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300F after the first 70-75 minutes of baking. Bake at this temperature for another 10 minutes.

Turn oven off and prop the door open. Leave the cake in the oven for 15-20 minutes with the door propped slightly open.

Remove the cake from the oven and gently pull it out of the pan using the long strips.

Mix together the apricot jam and warm water and brush this mixture over the top of the cheesecake.

Let the cheesecake come to room temperature and then store in the fridge.

Hello and Granola

How do you start a food blog? Do you just start taking pictures and pop them up with some words and maybe a recipe- lather, rinse, repeat? Not really sure- but that’s the approach I’m taking. So hello there.

This past weekend Jered and I went on a quick jaunt to Washington, Virginia to visit the famous Inn at Little Washington where we had a most fantastic meal. The restaurant just earned its third Michelin star in September of 2018, and we were itching to see what all the fuss was about. In the last two years or so we’ve had the opportunity to dine at two 3-star restaurants, both by Thomas Keller. In March of 2017 we visited The French Laundry and got bit pretty hard by the Michelin bug. A little over a year later we visted Per Se on a whirlwind tour of New York City. This weekend was our first non Tommy Keller experience and we were very curious to experience three stars in a completely different context.

Of course, these dinners ain’t free, and a stay at the Inn itself (the property is both a famous fancy inn and houses the restaurant), was a bit out of our league- at $900 a night we couldn’t quite justify the expense. Thankfully for us, there was a delightful Inn less than a mile from where we’d eat dinner that we ended up staying at, for a fraction of the cost. The hosts Drew and Deb made our stay quite the experience, from hand-crafted cocktails in the evening, to a three course homemade breakfast the next morning. If you find yourself in Washington, Virginia, I’d highly recommend the Gay Street Inn.

What does all this have to do with granola? Well, that three course breakfast we had featured a delicious yogurt, fruit, and granola parfait that inspired me to toast up some oats for us to enjoy at home. The Inn has their recipe posted on their blog, but I have trouble following recipes because I’m a rebel at heart… so here’s how it went.

I emptied an entire container of oats (probably about 4 or 5 cups) into a giant bowl. To that, I added probably a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 cup of raw walnuts, and 1 cup of raw pecans.

In a small pot I added 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, a few glugs of sunflower oil, about a half cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of honey, about a teaspoon of diamond crystal kosher salt (this salt is big and flaky, if you use regular table salt I’d use half that amount), and a little bit of cinnamon sugar I had left from making bomboloni last week. I melted all of that down. Stirred the melted goop into the oat mixture, and spread all of that out onto a cookie sheet.

I ended up doing two batches to get it properly toasted. I put each sheet pan in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, stirred it around thoroughly, rotated the sheet, and put it back in for another 15-20 minutes. You want the oats to get nice and toasty. Keep an eye on it as it starts to smell good- it can get dark quickly.

I let it all cool spread out on some foil on the counter, and then popped the cooled granola into a glass jar. We had some this morning for breakfast with julienned honey crisp apples and some plain yogurt- it’s a nice breakfast treat!

Granola

(loosely adapted from this recipe at The Gay Street Inn)

  • 4-5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar and about 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 tsp flaky kosher salt

    Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Mix the oats, nuts, and coconut in a large bowl. Place the sugars, butter, oil, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer to melt the butter and sugar. Place the melted mixture in the bowl with the oats and toss to coat. Place half the coated oats on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Stir thoroughly and rotate the sheet pan, then bake for another 10-15 minutes. Once done, cool completely before putting it in a nice jar or a resealable plastic bag to store. (Repeat with remaining oat mixture).