Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Matcha Tiramisu

I've probably said this before, but in the scorching August heat, it's safe to say that I want to stay as cool as possible and avoid using the oven. (I made an exception for my boyfriend's birthday cake, which will be talked about in the next post.) So when I had a housewarming party to attend a few weeks ago, I chose to make green tea tiramisu, the recipe for which I saw on House of Annie a while back. Before choosing to go with this particular recipe, I considered making either this chocolate bundt cake which has been on my to-bake list for some time, or this strawberry cheesecake tiramisu, which would take advantage of summer berries. But the former would mean having to use the oven, and the latter didn't win simply because I'm loving all sorts of green tea desserts these days. Plus, I simply love the pastel green colour that matcha powder imparts.

Since this recipe requires no baking, all I had to do was make the zabaglione component and assemble the dessert, which is the most time-consuming part of this recipe. I doubled the original recipe to fit an 8.5" round springform pan, and used 2 1/2 packs of ladyfingers. Here's a not-so-funny (for me) story: I decided on this recipe at the last minute and didn't have time to prep until the day of the party, so I spent hours in the morning running around town to search for ladyfingers, because my neighbourhood Safeway only had 1 pack left! That ought to teach me to plan better!

This dessert is definitely not something that's low in fat (just look at the ingredients!) but that means it's a suitable dessert to share at a party, and there was just enough for everybody, which means there was no opportunity to indulge in seconds!
Matcha (Green Tea) Tiramisu
adapted from House of Annie

Biscuit component:
Ladyfinger biscuits (I used 2.5 200-gr packs)
~1.5 cups brewed green tea, cooled

Zabaglione component:
6 egg yolks
scant 1 cup sugar
500 gr mascarpone cheese
3 tsp matcha powder
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a double boiler until it is pale yellow and doubled in volume. Cool the mixture in a cold water bath.

Beat the mascarpone cheese until it is smooth and creamy. Add matcha powder gradually, and mix well after each addition.

Fold the mascarpone mixture into the egg yolk mixture.

Whip the heavy cream, and mix it into the mascarpone mixture.


Line the sides of an 8.5" (or similar) springform pan with ladyfingers.

Dip both sides of ladyfingers in green tea and line the bottom of the springform pan. Do not dip for too long or the ladyfingers will be soggy.

Spread some of the zabaglione mixture on top of the ladyfingers until they are completely covered.

Top with more soaked ladyfingers, and layer on more zabaglione. Do this step 2 more times with the final layer being the zabaglione mixture.

Chill in the fridge for at least 3-5 hours or overnight.

Before serving, dust with matcha powder or icing sugar, or both.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Japanese Style Cheesecake

My first encounter with Japanese cheesecake was a few years back through the Miki Ojisan no Mise (ミキおじさんの店) chain that is available in several Asian countries. Japanese cheesecake is probably best described as soft and cottony, and a lot more like cheese-flavoured sponge cake rather being dense and rich. I love all kinds of cheesecakes, but the Japanese one is a little bit more guilt free than your regular New York style cheesecake.

This cake is definitely more time-consuming than regular NY cheesecakes where you just make the crust and dump the ingredients for the filling in a mixing bowl. However, the results are worth it; the cake has a mild cheese flavour and it's light, so you can have more than one (or in my case, most of it!) without feeling too guilty.

Unfortunately this cake didn't turn out perfect on my first try; I neglected to use a springform pan because I thought that the cake would not stick, since I had already painstakingly lined the pan with parchment paper. However, I forgot that I would have to invert the cake, and I did so on a bare plate (as opposed to one lined with parchment paper), so the top golden brown layer stuck to the plate!! It was very devastating, as the top layer was actually very delicious. So my cake ended up being naked and pale, although it was still very good.

So here are my tips: do use a springform pan to save yourself a lot of trouble and tears, and make sure you melt the cream cheese well, as any lumps that remain will sink to the bottom of the cake and get in the way of the desired smooth texture.

Japanese Style Cheesecake

adapted from Diana's Desserts

250 g/9 oz cream cheese
50 g/2 oz butter
100 mL milk
6 large eggs, separated
60 g/2 oz cake flour
20 g/1 oz cornstarch
140 gr/5 oz granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt

Prepare a 8" round baking pan by greasing and lining it with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Melt cream cheese, butter and milk in a double boiler until there are no lumps. Then cool this cream mixture by placing the bowl/pot in another bowl filled with cold water.

In a medium bowl, add cream of tartar to the egg whites. Whisk until the whites are foamy. Add the sugar, and whisk again until the soft peak stage is achieved.

To the cream mixture, mix in egg yolks, salt, and lemon juice. Then gently sift the flour and cornstarch into this mixture.

Add the flour mixture into the egg whites gradually, and mix gently until everything is combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Prepare a bain-marie and place the cake pan in it; I used a large pan and filled it with enough water to make the cake pan float.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Take out the cake pan from the bain marie and cool the cake completely in the pan on a metal rack before serving.