A souffle-style cheesecake that is light, fluffy and moist. Beloved Western flavour pairing of Earl Grey tea and tangy lemon brings this Japanese dessert to the next level. Topped off with a light, airy and stabilized lemon whipped cream that's fit for piping - just heavenly!
The night before, place the milk and 2 grams tea leaves in a small sauce pot on medium heat. Once the milk starts to steam and a few bubbles can be seen, take off heat and place a plate over it to steep. After it cools off, put in the fridge overnight.
The next day, pour the milk through a strainer. Keep 90 ml of milk for our current use. Discard the excess along with the tea leaves that can't be strained.
Heat up the milk and cream cheese in a heat safe bowl over a boiling pot of water, stir with a spatula until well incorporated. *a
Add the butter.
Put the cream cheese mixture aside and let it cool down before adding the egg yolks to avoid cooking it.
Once the mixture has cooled off, add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, incorporate well with the spatula.
Sift the dry ingredients of cake flour, cornstarch, and remaining 2 grams of tea into the melted cream cheese mixture. Do this in two parts.
Gently stir it with the spatula. Do not stir too vigorously as this will toughen up the cake. Stop as soon as it becomes homogeneous.
Prepare a very clean non-plastic bowl free of oil or residue for making the meringue. *b
Put the whites into the clean bowl, leave the egg whites on the counter to bring back down to room temperature (around 20 minutes).
Using a hand blender or Kitchenaid, whip the egg whites on low speed until foamy, then add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium.
Once the whisk starts leaving tracks in the egg whites, which have become opaque, add one third of the granulated sugar at a time. Keep beating on med-high until stiff peaks.
Fold a third of the meringue into the cake batter. Then fold in the rest of the meringue. Keep folding until the mixture is homogeneous and no visible clumps of meringue can be seen.
Line the rectangular cake pan with parchment paper. *c
Pour the batter into the small loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Rap it once on the counter to smooth out the top and get rid of excess air pockets.
Place the cake pan in a water bath. For the water bath: place the cake pan inside a larger pan filled with 2 cm of hot water. *d
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 300F. It's ready when a skewer pulls out clean when inserted and the cake bounces back when you gently press into it with your fingers. The top should also be golden brown.
Turn off the oven. Leave the oven door ajar for 10-15 minutes before taking the cake out of the oven. *e
Gently lift the cake out of the pan. Peel off paper and let it cool off on a cooling rack. Be careful, it is very fragile at this point.
Once cooled, place in the fridge in an air-tight container overnight to set. This will allow the flavours and texture to develop. The cake is best eaten within 3-4 days.
Work on lemon cream immediately before serving. *f
Place whisk (of handheld mixer) and glass mixing bowl in the fridge to chill. Do not use metal bowls since the acid in the lemon will react with metal.
Zest (whole) and juice (1 tbsp) the organic lemon. Set aside. *g
Whip the cream inside the chilled mixing bowl on low speed. Once it has thickened and increased in volume, add the icing sugar. Increase speed to medium.
Once it has reached soft peaks, add the lemon juice and zest and whip until stiff peaks. Look for the cream to develop ridges along with a matte surface. DO NOT OVER WHIP *h
*a. Ensure that your cream cheese is totally blended and there are no large lumps left. The cake won’t rise properly if there are large clumps of dry ingredients holding it back.
*b. You can use some lemon juice or white vinegar to wipe down the bowl to remove any leftover oils. Meringues do not like any type of oil!
*c. This will help the cake lift off easily from the pan and prevent cracks due to over-handling.
*d. Water baths keeps the moisture level in the oven high and the heat gentle. It helps bake the cheesecake more slowly and evenly to prevent cracking.
*e. This will help prevent shrinkage and cracking from the sudden change in temperature.
*f. It's best to use lemon cream immediately but it can be successfully re-whipped for use within 24 hours. Stop whipping once the cream has become matte again.
*g. Use organic lemons since there may be pesticides on the peel of conventional lemons.
*h. Whip cream cannot be salvaged once over whipped. Stop beating once the cream starts to develop ridges and becomes matte. If the cream is just a bit overwhipped, you may be able to salvage it by adding more whipped cream and beating again.