Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's Day Special: White Chocolate-Yuzu Cheesecake

So, Valentine's Day is tomorrow and I couldn't resist whipping up a sweet something even though I am not a sucker for the sappy Hallmark holiday 😛 It does help when your beloved has a rather strong sweet tooth! 

A few weeks ago, I was at this popular cafe in Singapore, enjoying a brunch date with the husband. Once I was done, I spent a few minutes curiously wandering around the cafe to check out the interesting items on display and it was then that I saw it - inside a gleaming glass shelf, sitting prettily on a platter was a sinful-looking White Chocolate-Yuzu Cheesecake. I stood there gawking at it for a while. I then cursed myself for just having polished off a large serving of Belgian waffles with vanilla ice-cream for despite my enormous an appetite, I couldn't possibly have eaten any more (even if I tried). But it didn't stop me from making a vow right there that I would replicate the same at home. 

So, I didn't have a point of reference with this dessert. I didn't try the cheesecake at the restaurant, nor had I ever tried it before that. The very fact that I found it so alluring was probably because I hadn't come across that combination in a dessert anywhere else. But I thought it was a genius idea - white chocolate with its milky sweetness and yuzu with its aromatic zing, would be a perfect couple together in a rich, creamy cheesecake. 

Talking about yuzu - when I first came to Singapore over 11 years ago, I always noticed cartons of yuzu juice from different brands scattered across the shelves in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. I had no idea what the thing was and therefore, no clue about what it tasted like. But time and a curious palate are great teachers as I soon discovered.

Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit that looks like a small grapefruit but has the flavour that is a mixture of lemon, grapefruit with hints of mandarin orange. It seems to me to be softer on the palate than lemon. It is refreshing and has an intoxicating subtle fragrance. Once it entered my home, there was no looking back! Over the years, the amount of yuzu juice that has been consumed in my household has been staggering. At any point of time if you open my refrigerator, you will most likely find a carton of yuzu juice. That is how much we like it! I would absolutely love to use the zest from fresh yuzu in my cooking but strange thing, I haven't spotted the fruit anywhere. Maybe I should keep that in mind next time I pass by a Japanese speciality store. 


I did not follow any particular recipe for this cheesecake but rather formulated my own. I modified one of my go-to cheesecake recipes by incorporating white chocolate and yuzu juice and reducing the amount of sugar. The result was amazing! The rich and incredibly creamy cheesecake showcased the flavour of both the white chocolate and yuzu without being cloyingly sweet. My family gave it the thumbs up (my toddlers kept screeching "WANT IT!" after each bite which I took to mean that they liked it!). 

So it isn't too late to make this my dear readers. This dessert is love on a plate! It comes together in a snap too. If you aren't lucky enough to find yuzu juice, you can substitute with lemon juice (but it would taste slightly less awesome). 

Wishing you all a very Happy Valentine's Day!💗 Love certainly makes life worth living doesn't it? Cherish those you love, appreciate them and celebrate their presence in your life. I will be enjoying a family dinner with the three loves of my life at my favourite Italian restaurant. Totally romantic, I know 😜

Till my next post 🙋 

White Chocolate-Yuzu Cheesecake


Preparation time: 20 min
Baking time: 30-35 min
Makes: One round 20cm (8-inch) cheesecake
Serves: 6-8
Recipe level: Easy

Ingredients:

For the base:

100gm (4oz) graham crackers or digestive biscuits
50gm (2oz) unsalted butter

For the cheesecake:
150gm (5oz) white chocolate
675gm (11/2 lb) full-fat cream cheese
200gm (7oz) caster sugar
4 tbsp yuzu juice (I used the sweetened store-bought variety)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp yuzu zest, Optional

Method:

1. Get all the ingredients ready and get them to room temperature before beginning


2. Preheat the oven to 160 deg C/Fan 140 deg C/Gas 3. Lightly grease an 8-inch spring-form cake tin.


3. Put the crackers/biscuits into a plastic zip-lock bag and crush finely with a rolling pin. Melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the biscuit crumbs. Press firmly into the prepared tin and leave to set in the refrigerator.


4. Break the white chocolate into small pieces and melt it over a double boiler (you might burn it if you use a microwave). Keep aside to cool slightly and then slowly mix in the yuzu juice. Make sure the mixture is well mixed and uniform.

5. Measure the cream cheese into a mixing bowl and beat till soft (I used my Kitchenaid for this but you can do it manually as well). Take care to not over mix.


6. Add the caster sugar and beat again until well mixed.


7. Beat in the vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time. Mix in the yuzu zest (if available). Make sure the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.


8. Spoon the mixture onto the biscuit crust and bake for about 30-35 mins or until the cheesecake becomes puffy around the edges but is still very soft in the centre. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool down completely

9. Chill well in the fridge and then loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the tin using a small palette knife.




10. Serve chilled!


Notes:
  • Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature when you use it
  • It is highly recommended to use a spring-form tin. Just greasing the tin with butter is sufficient (you don't have to line it with greaseproof paper/parchment paper).
  • Avoid over-beating of the batter. Over-beating incorporates additional air which can cause cracks on the surface of the cheesecake
  • Avoid over-baking. The cheesecake will continue to bake after you switch off the oven. The center of the cake has to be slightly moist. 
  • It is important to cool the cheesecake in the oven completely and then refrigerate until well chilled before serving. I would highly recommend chilling for a couple of hours. Overnight would be even better
  • Dip a knife in warm water and wipe dry before slicing each piece
Cheers,
Megha

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