JAPANESE-INSPIRED 5-INGREDIENT CHEESECAKE
The fact that National Cheesecake Day falls in the summertime is a bit odd to me. That thick, tangy lusciousness somehow belongs during a time when you're not trying to eat light (and kill it in a bathing suit...). BUT I recently tried a Japanese cheesecake, which is also called a Cotton cheesecake (because of how light and fluffy it is). Think if an angel food cake and a cheesecake had a baby....Turns out, this crustless, spongy creation is the perfect summer dessert.
I set out to create a simplified version of it because summer desserts should be a bit easy. I wanted a canvas, a simple cake, to showcase seasonal ingredients as its topping. This cake is 5 ingredients, and the hardest step is just whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks and folding into the batter. Other than that, foolproof! I used yuzu juice as the acid in keeping with the Japanese theme and because it has a touch of salinity, which I looooove, but lemon juice or even key lime juice would be a great substitute.
When I’m indecisive about a topping for my cheesecake, my favorite go to is a whipped sour cream topping. The tangy tartness of the sour cream with the bite of the creamy, sweet cheesecake is one of the more surprising taste combinations. Who would have thought sour cream with cheesecake would be a thing!? And it’s super simple to make. For a more basic recipe I use sour cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. Just throw it all into the Kitchenaid and whip 'til smooth or whisk in a bowl if you don’t like lugging out your stand mixer.
There were so many blueberries at my Saturday's farmers' market, so I thought I would test out a blueberry sauce with my cheesecake. This recipe combines the blueberries with one of my favorite herbs, lemon verbena. It’s a super simple sauce and starts off like you would a jam. Instead of letting it boil down til thick, you simply take off the heat and let cool. I like to steep the lemon verbena in boiling water to really bring out the flavor and then use the water when making the sauce. In a sauce pan, mix the blueberries, corn starch, and sugar until the blueberries start to release their juices. Gradually stir in the lemon verbena water and bring to a simmer. Let cook for 5-10 minutes until desired consistency and some of the berries start to burst. Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.
Here's the 5-ingredient cheesecake recipe - enjoy!
Yields (1) 9-inch cake
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
6 eggs, room temp and separated
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon yuzu, lemon or key lime juice
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, whisk together condensed milk and cream cheese. Fold in yolks, cornstarch and yuzu/lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to stiff peaks. Add a little bit of the egg whites to the cream cheese mixture to lighten and then fold in the rest in 3 increments. Transfer to a greased, parchment-lined 9-inch cake tin or springform pan. Place in a roasting pan and pour boiling water in the pan to halfway up the cake tin (if using a springform, make sure to wrap in foil all over to keep the water from seeping in.
Bake for 40 minutes. Then, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before refrigerating. Refrigerate at least hours before serving.