Sakura and Tofu Cheesecake

Happy mother’s day!! Being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet, but let’s be honest, the job also comes with burnout, sleep deprivation and countless moments of insanity. Moms hold so many positions, chef, maid, nurse, financial advisor, personal shopper, psychiatrist and superhero to name but a few. Think about all the fashion phases you went in and out of as a teenager, all the hobbies you obsessed about for two weeks before moving on to something new, and all the dreams and ambitions you had as a little girl… She supported you through every single one of them. Mother’s Day comes once a year, and even though you should celebrate your mother every single day of the calendar, today is really when she should be treated like a queen- because she, without a doubt, deserves it!

Stayed up late last night to make this non-bake cheesecake: sakura blossoms are a classic Japanese ingredient, which not only has a very unique flavor but also adds beauty to the cake; and the tofu-based cheesecake gives a pleasantly refreshing taste.

For a special mom like mine deserves better than standard delivered bouquet =)

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(Serving one 7’ cheesecake)

Base:

  • 200g graham biscuits (crushed)
  • 80g butter (melted)

Filling:

  • Silken Tofu 350g
  • 200 g cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 40g sugar
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 15g gelatin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:

  • Konnyaku powder
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Pickled Sakura

Method:

  1. Rinse off the salt on the pickled sakura and soak with clean water for 2 hours .
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and mix well. Press into the bottom of a 7’ springform pan with removable base. Chill until firm.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in 100ml of water, stir until well combined. Warm up in microwave oven until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Set aside the mixture and allow it to cool completely.
  4. In a mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and Tofu until combined. Sieve the mixture afterwards.
  5. Beat whipping cream and sugar at medium speed until fluffy (around 5min).
  6. Lastly, gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese-tofu mixture. Add in gelatin solution and vanilla extract.
  7. Remove the prepared cake pan from refrigerator, then pour the cream cheese mixture on the cake pan. Refrigerate for about 4-5 hours or overnight.
  8. Topping: Combine the konnyaku powder and water in a small pot, stir until well combined, then set aside and allow it to cool completely.
  9. Remove the cheese cake from refrigerator, gently pour the mixture on top of the cheese cake, then gently place the pickled sakura on the topping mixture and arrange them nicely.
  10. Refrigerate until the topping is set.

Lemon Meringue Tart

When life gives you lemons… make lemon meringue tart!


Ingredients:

Pastry

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 egg yolk
  • Beans for baking

Filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 2-3 lemon (to produce about 100ml lemon juice and 2 tbsp lemon zest)

Meringue

  • 2 egg whites
  • Half cup of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 160C fan.
  2. To make the pastry, mix the flour and icing sugar in a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until crumbly.
  3. Mix in the egg yolks, roll into a ball. If the pastry is still too dry, add 1-2 tbsp water until it comes together.
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film, chill for at least 30 mins.
  5. While the pastry is in the fridge, make the filling. Beat all the ingredients, except for the zest, together. Sieve the mixture, then stir in the zest.
  6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a $1 coin, then lift into a 23cm tart tin. Press down gently on the bottom and sides, then trim off any excess pastry.
  7. Stab a few holes in the bottom with a fork and put back in the fridge for 30 mins.
  8. Line the tart with foil and fill with dried beans. Bake for 15 mins, then remove the tart tin from the oven, discard the foil, and bake for another 20 mins until biscuity.
  9. When the pastry is ready, remove it from the oven, pour in the lemon mixture and bake for 30-35 mins until just set.
  10. Leave to cool, then remove the tart from the tin.
  11. In medium bowl, beat egg whites, salt and vinegar with electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy. Around 6 min in total, do not underbeat.
  12. Spread the meringue on top of the filling with a spoon, starting from the outside edge of the crust.
  13. Brown the meringue with a blow torch.

Pavlova with Strawberry Jam and Rosewater Chantilly Cream

Unlike its distant cousins macarons which have gained so much attention in the culinary world, pavlova- also a meringue based dessert, remains rather less known. The dessert was believed to be created by a hotel chef in the 1920s in honor of the beautiful Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand (thanks Wikipedia!). A pavlova is made with a French meringue which is cooked in the oven for a long time, about an hour, at a very low temperature to let it dry out. The outer shell of the meringue should be crisp, while the interior has a fluffy, marshmallowy texture. The cooled meringue is then topped with whipped cream and fruit right before being served. Nothing beats a good pavlova in springtime – light and airy, topped with seaonal berries, it feels a lot “healthier” than it really is!


(6 servings)

Pavlova
Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (can be substituted with white vinegar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cups sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 120 C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw 4 4-inch circles on the parchment paper.
  3. With an electric mixer set to medium, whisk together the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt for 3 minutes. Let the mixer keep running and add in the sugar, a spoonful at a time. Stop when the meringue is thick and can form stiff (around 6 minutes in total).
  4. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Start from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly, and leave a slight depression in the center.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. (Halfway through baking rotate the baking sheets so the meringues will cook as evenly as possible.)
  6. Allow to cool in the oven before trying to remove them from the parchment paper (otherwise they may stick!).

Rosewater Whipped Cream
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 drop of red coloring
  • a very small amount of rose water

Directions:

  1. Add the cream to the bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Beat on high speed until it begins to thicken.
  3. While the mixer is still running gradually add the sugar and coloring.
  4. Once the whipped cream is ready turn off the mixer.
  5. Add rosewater in small amount. Taste and see if you think the whipped cream has enough rose flavor, if not repeat the process. (Rose water can be quite potent so you don’t want to overdo it.)
  6. Assemble the dessert by putting the whipped cream on top of the Pavlova, add strawberry jam and berries for garnishing.