Apologies for not getting this post up by the end of last week, but I have two exciting updates on what's been going on in my life. The first is that I am moving to a brand-new place just outside of the city, so it's going to be a tornado of sorting and packing in my apartment for the next couple of weeks. The most oft-repeated piece of advice I've received from friends is to throw away everything I don't need; advice I've been trying to take to heart but is very difficult to follow when the kitchen is concerned. So perhaps I've gotten carried away over the years with collecting dishes and pans and plates and gadgets. I find myself going through the drawers and deciding that yes, every one of those items is absolutely indispensable and I must take it with me. Good thing the new place has about double the number of kitchen cabinets. For those of you who remember Jen from use real butter's tour of my kitchen, you don't know how excited I am to have a big shiny new kitchen to use very soon! I may have to throw a virtual housewarming on this blog to break it in!!
The second, very thrilling piece of news is that I just received the advance copy of my second book from my publisher, Quirk Books. It feels just as surreal and humbling as the first time I held a copy of Field Guide to Cookies in my hands.
My upcoming book is Field Guide to Candy: How To Identify and Make Virtually Every Candy Imaginable (A Field Guide) , and you can see the cover to the right side of this page. It's available for pre-order already through Amazon, and it's due to come out at the beginning of September – very soon! You can be sure there will be many candy-related posts coming up on this site in time for the holidays! I'm also very pleased with the photography; I worked with Tucker + Hossler, a local team with a beautiful eye for food photography. I also got much more free rein over the food styling this time, so the photos are more cookbook-like than simple field guide shots. It was definitely a very fun and educational experience working on this book, and I'm very excited to be sharing it with all of you soon!
So while I'm knee-deep in the packing process, I'm trying to use up what's left in the refrigerator, and I find some cream cheese in the back. It reminds me that I haven't made cheesecake in a while, which leads to this week's creation: Green Tea and Chocolate Cheesecake.
Traditional American/New York baked cheesecake has inspired many books and articles on mastering the techniques behind perfect cheesecake. This time around, I felt like trying out an unbaked version. Made with cream cheese and gelatin, and lightened with whipped cream these unbaked cheesecakes are made very similar to the traditional mousse cakes from France. This style of cheesecake is popular in Hong Kong and Japan, likely because it has a lighter, fluffier texture that is preferred over there. Another advantage to these unbaked cheesecakes is since they don't required baking, there aren't the same concerns over baking for exactly the right time and with cracking tops. It's almost ridiculously simple to put together.
I also found some matcha powder that I needed to use up, so I decided to make this a green tea cheesecake. The trick with matcha is not to use too much, or else the flavor will become very bitter. I might have erred on the heavy-handed side, so in the recipe I've decreased the amount of matcha and increased the sugar. To also balance out the grassy notes of the matcha, I made the crust out of crushed chocolate wafers to give a dose of rich sweetness.
This cheesecake sets up fast and has a soft, pleasingly creamy mouthfeel – I might even pair it with some fruit for a light dessert – when's the last time you heard of cheesecake being light?
Look for another update later this week!
Green Tea and Chocolate Cheesecake
makes (2) 5" round cheesecakes
1/2 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 ounces whipping cream
6 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 ounces milk
3/4 teaspoon matcha powder
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom of two 5" round springform pans. You could also use an 7" round springform pan.
Combine chocolate wafer crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl until well combined and crumbly. Press firmly into the bottom of the pans with your fingers.
Bake in oven for about 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.
Whip the cream in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Set cream aside.
In a clean mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until soft and creamy (do not overbeat and liquefy it). Add the sugar and beat to combine.
Heat the milk in a heatproof cup until almost hot (not boiling). Add in the matcha powder and whisk until combined and there are no lumps.
Bloom gelatin in about 2 tablespoons of water.
Add in the milk to the cream cheese and mix until combined.
Fold in the whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until combined.
If the gelatin is solid, heat in microwave for 10 seconds at a time until liquid. Make sure it is liquid or it will not blend smoothly with the cheesecake.
Add the gelatin to the cheesecake mixture and fold until combined.
Pour the cheesecake mixture into prepared pans.
Refrigerate for at least an hour until set.
If you like, you can coat the sides in more chocolate crumbs after you unmold the cheesecakes.