Houjicha Cheesecake Bars
I adore cheesecake! I try to come up with a new flavor of cheesecake once or twice a year. My latest creation is cheesecake bars flavored with Houjicha, a roasted version of Japanese green tea with marvelous fragrance and low caffeine.
1. Simmer 200 cc (4/5 cup) of canned, unsweetened, evaporated milk with 10 grams (about 4 Tablespoons) crushed Houjicha leaves until the milk has the dark brown color, fragrance, and flavor of strong Houjicha tea. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. There is no need to strain out the tea leaves.
2. Make a plain pie crust dough using any recipe or product that you like— enough to cover just the bottom of a 9″ x 9″ square baking dish. Blind-bake the crust for 10 minutes at 200 C (400 F).
3. Put the following ingredients into a blender, and blend at high speed for 2 minutes:
250 grams (8 oz) of cream cheese
3 fresh eggs
3 Tablespoons flour
100 grams (2/3 cup) brown sugar
200 cc (4/5 cup) houjicha-infused evaporated milk, cooled to room temperature
4. Pour contents of blender gently over the pie crust bottom in the baking dish. (You may omit the pie crust if you prefer, in which case I suggest you lightly oil the bottom and sides of the baking dish.) Bake at 170 C (325 F) for 40 minutes, or till the cheesecake batter is dry enough that it doesn’t stick to a toothpick when you poke one through the middle.
Beware of overcooking. I usually pour some hot water into a pan beneath the cheesecake to moisten the air in the oven, so as to protect the fragrance of the cheesecake while baking. If you do this, be careful not to scald yourself when pouring the hot water, or when opening the oven door.
After the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, cover it with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Before serving, cut it into rectangles and garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkling of chopped candied ginger. I find that the flavor of the houjicha is strongest the second or third day after baking.
This recipe is only mildly sweet. If you prefer very sweet desserts, increase the amount of sugar in the cheesecake batter, or add sugar to the whipped cream.
Filed under: Dessert, Pie | 3 Comments
Tags: cake bars, candied ginger, cheesecake, cream cheese, finger food, green tea, hojicha, japanese tea, whipped cream