Mascarpone cheese tart

If there’s one word to describe cheesecakes for me, it’s nostalgia. A little strange because it’s not a cake I grew up eating…

For a short period when I was in primary school, I hung out with my good friend Ashura at Coffee Bean. We used to share cakes at the cafe together and the cheesecake was one of them. Those were fun times, and sinful times, because all the CoffeeBean trips made me balloon quite a bit – I was overweight by the time I reached secondary school. Oops.

Cheesecakes also make me think of my god brother, Colin, who passed on 6 years ago. Colin loved to cook like his parents, and whipped up delicious dishes when we visited during festive seasons. He made a cheesecake during Christmas one year, and I loved it so much I asked him for the recipe. And that recipe was the last thing he gave me before he passed on. It’s a simple cheesecake recipe I hold close to my heart, which I will share in time :)

Mascarpone cheese tart

I love cheesecakes, though I always have problems finishing a whole slice of cheesecake by myself (maybe it’s just me, but it gets a little too much after a while). Unless it’s the Japanese cotton cheesecake… now that’s a different story altogether.

I ate a cheesecake that was lighter than the usual New York cheesecake during my holiday last year in Quebec City, and that was one of the rare occasions I actually finished a whole slice myself. From then I was curious, what made it lighter? I had a feeling that the cake had more than cream cheese… So when I stumbled across this recipe which included mascarpone cheese, I had to have a go at it!

Mascarpone Cheese Tart

(Adapted from Taste of Home Mascarpone Cheesecake Recipe)
Makes a 9 inch tart

Ingredients for biscuit crust
200g digestive biscuits, finely ground
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
60g butter, melted

Ingredients for cheese tart filling
250g cream cheese
250g mascarpone cheese
100g castor sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla
100g eggs (about 2 eggs)

Directions for the biscuit crust
1. Pre-heat the oven at 175°C.  Lightly butter the bottom and sides of your tart pan.

2. For the biscuit crust, mix the finely ground digestives together with the sugars. Add in the melted butter and press the mixture into prepared pan.

3. Bake the crust in the oven for about 10 minutes and leave to cool.

Masarpone cheese tart

Directions for the cheese tart filling
1. Keep your oven at the same temperature :)

2. Beat together cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth.

3. Add in the eggs and and beat on low until just combined. Once done, pour your batter into the cooled biscuit crust.

4. Before you place your tart in for baking, put a tray of water at the bottom of the oven. I use this method instead of the usual water bath for cheesecakes – so I have no issues with leakages or soggy bottoms!

5. Bake the tart for about 35 – 40 minutes. It is done once the outside of the cheese tart is almost set, and the centre is still a little wobbly.

6. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Mascarpone cheese tart

I love this recipe because the mascarpone somehow makes the ‘cheesecake’ portion of the tart lighter. Most people who tried it loved this, though a friend who is a fan of cheesecakes said it was not ‘cheesy’ enough. I guess it isn’t, because it’s not made fully of cream cheese ;)

Oh, if you want to make this into a cheesecake, just double the cheese portion and bake it in a 9 inch springform pan for 50 – 60 mins (check out the Taste of Home recipe).


Japanese Cheesecake 2

Japanese Cheesecake 2
Japanese Cheesecake recipe 2, taken by Instagram

Not quite satisfied with the first bake I had because of the cracked top and shrinkage, I decided to have another go with another recipe online have been tried and tested by many food bloggers. I like the post done up by The Little Teochew, where she has shared tips on how to make that perfect Japanese cheesecake. Hop on over to her site for the recipe and tips!

I’m glad to have learnt about the tenting method – lining the sides of your pan high to help with the rise, and also for covering your cake with aluminium foil in case it gets too brown. As you can see from my top photo, my second cake came out without a crack on top. Another tip I got from her, was not to remove the cake too fast from the oven. My first attempt deflated like crazy because I removed it immediately after the time was up. This time I switched off the oven and allowed it to sit in inside for 30 minutes more, until the pan was cool enough to hold with my bare hands. It just shrunk only about 1 inch this time :)

The verdict of the two recipes?

The recipe by Alex Goh reminded me more of Fiesta’s cheesecake, it was creamier and melted in your mouth, like an very light and airy american cheesecake. The online recipe was fluffier, a little drier and had a nice bite to it. Have a go at both and see which you prefer ;) I’ll probably have another go at Alex’s recipe, with the above tips to see how it goes again, and to test out using a springform pan instead because as you see below, my beautiful swirled crust from above is no more after transferring the cake out!

Japanese cheesecake 2!
Innards of the online Japanese cheesecake recipe

More testings to come when I have the time; I don’t think my family or friends mind – both cheesecakes were gone within a day! In fact my mum has already asked for another ;)

Japanese Cheesecake

My parents love the Japanese Cheesecake over the usual New York cheesecake because of it’s light, fluffy and creamy texture. Think of it as a chiffon cheesecake, just that it’s slightly denser than a real chiffon ;) They constantly remind me to make it when we visit our favourite sushi joint, where their desserts are placed in a small display fridge just next to the cashier. My family will buy the mochi in the display, but hardly ever buy the cake. And remind me to make the cake again.

The company that open the Sushi chain, Ichiban Boshi, is the same one that introduced the Japanese Cheesecake to Singapore. They used to only have another Sushi joint, Fiesta and it was well known for its Japanese Cheesecakes with a cute cow character imprinted on top. It brings back fond memories as I remember having it way back when I was in Secondary School!

Japanese Cheesecake
(Recipe adapted from Fantastic Cheesecakes by Alex Goh)
Makes a 8 or 9-inch fluffy cheesecake

Japanese Cheesecake innards

Cheesecake ingredients
160g cream cheese, softened
25g butter, softened
120g milk, room temperature
40g flour
30g cornflour
4 eggs, separated
100g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of cream of tartar
pinch of salt

1. Preheat your oven to 160 degree C / 320 degree F. Boil a pot of water, we’ll be doing a steambath for your cake. Grease and line your pan, make sure the side linings are about 1 1/2 inches high. (I didn’t and the tops cracked because it had no space to rise!)

2. Beat together cream cheese, butter and milk until smooth. You can do this over a waterbath, or microwave it a little to help if the lumps persist.

3. Once smooth, beat in the corn flour and flour. Add the egg yolks and vanilla.

4. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Continue beating and add the cream of tartar and salt, then gradually add in your sugar. Continue beating until you have soft peaks – this means when you lift your beaters, the egg whites are just starting to hold peaks, still soft and will fall back into the beaten whites. Beat the whites on medium speed if using a mixer, so that the beaten air bubbles will be small, helping the cake to be more stablised.

5. Fold 1/3 of your beaten egg whites into your cream cheese mixture. When well combined, fold in the other 2/3. Be gentle when folding as you don’t want to deflate your whipped egg whites!

6. Pour batter into your prepared pan. Place it in a baking pan and into the oven. Take your boiling water and fill your baking pan until it reaches about 1/3 of the cheesecake pan (use your judgement, just fill the bigger pan to as much as it can hold)

7. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the cake is firm and golden brown. If it gets too brown, quickly place a piece of aluminium foil (this is another reason for the high pan side linings, to ensure that the top has space to rise). Once firm and golden brown, switch off your oven and leave the cake inside for about 30 minutes with the oven door slightly open. Sudden temperature changes will cause your cake to deflat, hence it’s best to leave it to cool this way.

8. Once cooled, remove the cake from pan and leave it on the cooling rack.

9. You can take a slice and eat it now. Or chill it and enjoy it cold!

Japanese Cotton Cheesecake
Doesn’t it remind you of Pacman? :p

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes (no-bake)

The bakes have a new home over at Dessert Tales. Check it out!

Sometimes, having excess ingredients on hand can be a good thing, it forces me to look through my to-bake list and see what I can make (my list is forever growing, it scares me sometimes). Currently have buttermilk and cream to finish up. Over the weekend, experimented more with the whole wheat muffins, and managed to come up with a full whole wheat recipe without the muffin being to heavy. If you’re interested, drop me an email ;)

With the cream, came this!

Individual Oreo CheesecakesMini no-bake oreo cheesecakes.

Oreo cheesecake
Makes about 15 oreo sized cheesecakes
Adapted from Philadelphia Australia

1/2  cup cream, lightly whipped
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 teaspoon gelatine, dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water
6 tbsp caster sugar
250g Philadelphia cream cheese
1 cup of oreo, crushed

–  Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in the gelatine mixture, vanilla essence, cream and 1 cup of crushed oreo.

– For the crust, I did it the lazy way by using an oreo for the base. (No crushing of oreos, mixing with butter and pressing into tin.)

– For the above, I used plastic strips to make temporary round containers to place the oreo and cream cheese mixture. If you don’t have those, use your trusty muffin pan. Place liners and an oreo into each muffin hole, then fill up with the cream cheese mixture. Freeze – add oreos on top before serving (suggestion from Dorothy – so that the oreos won’t get soggy ;))

Initially placed these in the fridge but I got the same comments from those who tried it – it was a bit too soft for a cheesecake. So I transferred it to the freezer. It didn’t harden (phew!) but became a nice dense cheese cake texture ;)

I’m thinking I could use the normal softer consistency to fill cakes. And if I wanted my cheesecake, I’ll simply freeze it!