(8 inch cheesecake)
I've been curious about light Japanese cheesecakes, but almost every recipe I've come across uses half a dozen eggs and requires you to bake it in a bain-marie. The sad thing is that's not even that difficult to set up a water bath, but for some reason an extra step like that will more often than not have me clicking to the next recipe. I ended up making a few adjustments to my go-to recipe based on a couple of things I gleaned from various Japanese cheesecake recipes.
My cheesecake was definitely lighter than a conventional American cheesecake, but denser than a traditional Japanese cheesecake. It was fluffy and creamy. All in all, I was thrilled with how it turned out and ended up using only half the amount of cream cheese! This delicious cheesecake with it's delicate lemon flavour was perfect with a bit of whipped cream and fresh berries. OK, it didn't really need the whipped cream, but I had some! :D
8oz pkg neufchatel or cream cheese, (not the whipped kind)
2/3 cup sour cream
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
fresh zest from 1 Meyer lemon, about 1 tbsp
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 egg whites
1/2 cup fine granulated sugar
freshly whipped cream
Prepare an 8 inch springform by cutting a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and a strip to go along the side of the pan. Set aside.
Place the neufchatel and sour cream into a microwave proof bowl. Microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time to warm everything up just enough so you can whisk the cheese and sour cream together; you just want to soften the ingredients, not heat them up too much.
Whisk in the egg yolks, lemon juice, zest and cornstarch. Set the mixture aside when it's well combined.
Preheat oven to 250°F.
Beat the egg whites until they are frothy, then gradually beat in the sugar. Continue to beat until you get firm peaks.
Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture, and pour into your prepared springform. Smooth out the top, if necessary.
Bake for 1 hour in the middle of the oven, then turn off the heat and allow the cake to *cool for 30 minutes in the oven. Hopefully this will help keep any cracks on the surface to a minimum. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour or two before serving.
*I use a small counter-top convection oven which cools off faster. If you are using a large conventional oven then pry open the door just a tiny bit with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Serve with whipped cream and berries.