The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
I was soooo pleased when I saw this month's challenge - I just love, love cheesecake! Were were given free reign on the flavour, as long as we stayed with the basic recipe and method, and I knew I wanted to do something with a Japanese twist...
My first thought was matcha with azuki beans, but I'm not that keen on matcha anything and I definitely wanted to enjoy a piece myself. Then I toyed with the idea of incorporating sakura (cherry blossom) into the recipe, but how? But then... my friend Minori brought some delicious omiyage from Tokyo and so I knew exactly what I wanted to do!
This is a Tokyo Goma Tamago:
It's a manju filled with yummy goma (black sesame) anko and coated with white chocolate. I have developed a real taste for black sesame (it makes a wonderful ice-cream), so there we have it - decision made! Here is my version, Goma Cheesecake:
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
180 g graham cracker crumbs (I used Harvest, delicious thin, white sesame seed biscuits)
120g butter, melted (actually, this seemed a bit much, I'll reduce the amount next time)
24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
600g cream cheese
210 g sugar
3 large eggs
100ml heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake (I used mirin)
My addition to this recipe is 4 tablespoons black sesame seeds, crushed with a pestal and mortar and 200g melted white chocolate as a topping.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
I have to confess, it was looking good... until I came to finish it off. I was tired and in a rush, not a good combination. I melted the chocolate in the microwave but didn't watch it properly and it seized :( I smeared it over the top anyway, wished I hadn't (so much for the smooth finish), but in fact it tasted it tasted great in spite of not looking how I'd hoped. The cheesecake itself was absolutely fab and I will definitely be making this again. Next time I'll use the thick, black goma paste you can get to see if I can get a more dramatic colour. But for this time, I'm thankful that I had so many people to share this with as I would no doubt have been raiding the fridge for slice after slice!
7 hours ago