I made this no-bake lemon cheesecake for my mom’s friend. The recipe was loosely adapted from the lemon cheesecake mousse cups I prepared previously. The amount of gelatin was increased as the cake needs a firmer texture to stand up on its own. The ratio of whipping cream was also reduced. I’ve planned to decorate the top with a glaze made out of canned lychee puree together with lychee pieces and lemon slices. However, after opening the can, I found that both the color and texture of my lychees looked weird. I also noticed a subtle bitter taste in them so I don’t think I will ever purchase that brand again. I had no fresh fruits at hand so I quickly reached into my panty for some pickled cherry blossoms (sakura). This romantic sakura garnish made a typical cheesecake so extraordinary. In fact, it adds a touch of spring to the late fall season which is buried in shredded leaves.
Cherry blossoms are not just for viewing. The petals and leaves are edible after being pickled in salt and umeboshi vinegar. They can be turned into tea and wine as well as treats such as sakura mochi and mizu shingen mochi. My bag of pickled sakura was from Japan and was a gift from a friend. I usually enjoy them directly as sakurayu (sakura tea) or use them for edible decoration. For sakura tea, simply take a couple of blossoms and toss them in a cup of hot water. The tea smells and tastes a bit like preserved plums. When you swirl the mug a bit you will see the petals dancing in the water. For most other uses the blossoms have to be soaked before use in order to get rid of the saltiness. The blossoms are all covered in salt within the package. To prepare the blossoms for garnish, take a couple of them out of the bag and rinse off the salt under running water. Soak them in drinking water for half an hour while changing water a few times. When the petals are hydrated I usually wash them by holding the stem with a pair of food dedicated tweezers. Waving them in the water can rinse out the salt and dirt trapped in between the layers of petals. After washed, take them out out and pat dry with paper towels. For other desserts garnished with sakura, read about my blog posts No-Bake Sakura and Strawberry Cheesecake and No-Bake Rose and Honey Cheesecake.
The following recipe makes a 7” round cake. I used a square pan instead so the height of the cake was about 20% less. I would increase the amount of the glaze by about 50% next time so that the petals have more room to fan out.
No-Bake Sakura Lemon Cheesecake
makes a 7” cake
For the Chocolate Crust
105 g Marie biscuits
1-1/2 Tbsp (about 9 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp granulated sugar
45 g unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
227 g (1 8 oz. block) cream cheese, softened
100 g milk
70 g granulated sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
150 g whipping cream
12 g (4 tsp) powdered gelatin
60 g juice from half a lemon mixed with water
For the Sakura Glaze
8 to 10 pickled sakura
130 g water
50 g corn syrup
6 g (2 tsp) powdered gelatin
30 g water
無糖可可粉 1-1/2湯匙 (約9克)
粟膠 50克 (可自行調整份量)
Wrap bottom of a cake ring with plastic wrap. Chill mixing bowl and the whisk attachment of the mixer in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
Combine crumbled marie biscuits, sugar and cocoa powder (I processed everything with a food processor until finely ground). Add melted butter and mix until evenly moistened. Evenly press mixture into the bottom of ring with the back of a spoon (I love to use the bottom of a tall glass or ramekin to press down the crust firmly). Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
Wash the lemon thoroughly and pat dry. Zest (avoid any of the white pith as it tastes bitter). In a small bowl, rub sugar and lemon zest with fingertips until fragrant. The zested sugar will be fluffy and turn pale yellow. Cut lemon in half and juice half of it (you will get 30 to 35 g of lemon juice.). Add enough water to make 60 g of liquid. Set aside.
Bloom gelatin by mixing it with lemon juice and water in a small bowl then set aside for 5 minutes. Warm mixture in the microwave or sit the bowl in hot water until gelatin liquefies. Set aside.
With a food processor or blender, process cream cheese, zested sugar and milk until smooth then pour into a mixing bowl. For a silkier texture, strain mixture through a sieve. Stir in the gelatin mixture until incorporated.
In the chilled mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until thickened and soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture in two batches until homogeneous.
Remove ring from fridge and pour batter over the chilled crust. Tap ring on the countertop several times to remove any large air bubbles then smooth top. Refrigerate until set.
Rinse pickled sakura under running water to get rid of the salt. Soak them in drinking water for 30 minutes, replacing water every 10 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel gently. Set aside.
Bloom gelatin by mixing it with 30 g of water and set aside for 5 minutes. Warm mixture in the microwave or sit the bowl in hot water until gelatin liquefies. Add remaining water and corn syrup and mix thoroughly.
Remove chilled cake from the fridge. Arrange sakura on top then slowly pour the gelatin mixture over. Arrange the petals with a toothpick by fanning them out. To avoid the blossoms from floating around and messing up with the pattern while being transferred to the fridge, let cake sit for 5 to 10 minutes on a level surface so the glaze thickens up slightly. Chill until glaze is firmy set. Unmold cake by heating the sides with a hair dryer briefly and serve.
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