Let’s talk about friendship, shall we?
Back in Ukraine, when I lived in the same city I went to college in, it seemed to me that relationships were something that just happened in life. Moving overseas at the age of 30 made me realized this was actually something that required work and time.
Of course, when I look at a snapshot of my life right before the move, I see many friends I had. Though it didn’t happen overnight, quite opposite — my circle of friends grew little by little. During 5 years of college when I lived in the dormitory, and 7 years at work, and through our running club, and everywhere in between. Whoa, that is a lot of time and places of interests!
Funny enough, in States my number one (and almost only) way to meet new people is… instagram!
You might be wondering, how any of this is related to Japanese cheesecake? Well, here’s a story 🙂
Last Christmas my friend Katey from Violet Fog (who I met through instagram) invited our now-mutual friend Nao (who is from Japan and who Katey met through — surprise! — instagram), my husband and I to spend the holiday at Katey’s parents. Since Nao currently lives in Portland, she at first flew in to San Francisco to spend a couple of days here.
A side note: you know it’s your person when you can sit without talking, doing your own things, and feel comfortable and connected. Or you have the same urge to go to a grocery store at night to treat yourself to an ice-cream. Or you both love watching random YouTube videos.
So one night Nao was staying at our place. I don’t remember why or how (wine involved!), we started watching videos about Japanese street food. Oh my, have you seen how they make Takoyaki or layered butter cake? It is absolutely mind blowing!
I had so much fun learning about new cuisine that night that it was only a matter of time for it to appear on the blog. Enter Japanese cheesecake 🙂
Japanese cheesecake is a unique dessert. It is a (perfect) marriage between regular cheesecake flavor and light souffle-like texture. It’s moist and silky, not overwhelmingly sweet and leaves you feeling light even after eating two slices (tested! 😉 )
For the cheesecake:
260 g cream cheese | 9 oz.
65 g cheddar, grated | 2/3 cup
165 g heavy cream | 2/3 cup
50 g water | ~ 1/4 cup
28 g butter | 2 tbsp
50 g flour | 1/3 cup
16 g cornstarch | 2 tbsp
32 g dry milk | 5 tbsp
92 g milk | 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp
1/4 tsp salt
40 g egg yolks | approx. 2 eggs
120 g egg whites | approx. 4 eggs
100 g sugar | 1/2 cup
Preheat the oven to 160 C/320 F. Line a 20 cm/8” cake pan with parchment paper. If you have a spring pan, cover its bottom with a double layer of aluminum foil to prevent leakage.
In a heavy bottom pan combine cream cheese, cheddar, heavy cream and water. Place the pan to a medium heat and cook stirring with a rubber spatula until the mixture is almost boiling. Turn off the heat, add butter to the pan and stir until it’s melted.
In a separate bowl sift flour, cornstarch, dry milk and salt. Gradually add milk and whisk to reach smooth consistency. Then add hot cheese mixture and egg yolks and mix everything together.
In a bowl of a stand mixer place egg whites and start to whisk on a low speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium and start to gradually add sugar. Keep whipping and adding sugar until the meringue holds tall sturdy peaks and looks glossy. Using a rubber spatula carefully fold meringue into batter and then transfer it to a lined pan.
Place a wrapped pan in another baking tray and pour hot water into larger tray, about halfway size of a cheesecake pan. This method helps to prevent cracks and ensures even baking.
Bake cheesecake for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes. When time passes, turn off the oven, slightly open the door and leave the cheesecake inside the oven to cool completely. Enjoy at room temperature or chilled overnight.