Spring is nearly here; the clocks have changed, giving us extra daylight at the end of the day, the trees are starting to bloom, and I’m starting to think about lighter flavors.
Next week I will be teaching cooking class. My menu is Asian themed:
Vietnamese Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups
Orange Ginger Broth with Soba Noodles
Roasted Salmon with Hoisin Reduction
Wasabi Red potatoes
Green Tea Cheesecake
When I am working on recipe development (which is pretty much all of my spare time) I recruit my family, friends, and neighbors to be my guinea pigs. Once I have the recipe just right, it makes it into my cooking class menu line up. I tend to gravitate toward Asian flavors in the spring. I guess it’s the clean flavors of ginger root and lemongrass that cleanse my palate after a winter filled with the warmth of comfort food.
I’ve included a bit of crystallized ginger root in the crust for the cheesecake; adds a bit of interest I think. I use loose green tea, ground to a fine powder for this recipe. The flavor is subtle and gives the cheesecake a nice speckled effect. Some Asian markets carry green tea powder (which eliminates the grinding step) but it can be hard to find…
Give it a try:
Green Tea Cheesecake
1 ¼ cups ground shortbread cookies
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger root
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 teaspoons finely ground green tea from about 5 tea bags
1 pint raspberries(golden if available)
1 pint strawberries
1 pint blackberries
Mint leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix together cookie crumbs and crystallized ginger root in a medium bowl. Press cookie crumbs firmly onto bottom (not sides) of 8-inch-diameter springform pan. Wrap outside of pan tightly with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Beat in green tea powder until smooth. Pour batter over prepared crust in pan. Place cake in roasting pan; add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan.
Bake cake until set but center moves very slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. Remove cake from roasting pan; cool 1 hour at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
Cut around pan sides to loosen cake; remove sides. Place cake on platter. Garnish cake with some raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and mint leaves. Cut cake into wedges.