Monday 23 August 2010

Wasabi and White Chocolate Cheesecake; an experiment!

I absolutely love all foods with pungence (also known as piquance, spiciness, hotness or raciness). Capsaicin in chillis, piperine in peppercorns, gingerol in ginger, allicin in garlic and allyl isothiocyanates in mustard, horseradish and wasabi.

I have been dreaming about this glorious combination for quite some time. I wanted to make this an unbaked cheesecake, and as I have stated before, I deteste gelatine in cheesecakes. I eventually got around to making it and adapted a recipe that one of my friends created during her GCSE Food Technology, many years ago. This recipe uses chocolate, cream cheese, condensed milk, cream and wasabi. For the base, I decided to use digestives and they are quite plain. The wanted the main flavour of the cheesecake to come from the cheesecake body and didn't want the base to take over (unlike my Speculoos and lemon cheesecake).

Once I had mixed the chocolate, cheese, condensed milk and cream together, I added the wasabi slowly by half teaspoonfuls, because a drop I had tasted before rapidly cleared my sinuses! Many teaspoonfuls later, I realised that it needed a lot more than I had anticipated. I then started adding the wasabi by long squeezes and the mix surprisingly needed almost half a tube to achieve the heat and taste I desired!

Unfortunately (and also unsurprisingly) the cheesecakes did not set. My friend's cheesecake mixture without the wasabi did set, so my guesses are that the wasabi interfered in the setting process, I have used slightly different ingredients to her, or I whipped the cream for too long (this last guess is most likely as I added the wasabi very slowly and mixed thoroughly between each dose!).

I made these into individual cheesecakes in ramekins. I tried to cut into a cheesecake and it literally resealed within seconds. I decided the best thing to do would be to turn them into a frozen cheesecakes. So they could almost be... ice cream cakes?!

Frozen wasabi and white chocolate cheesecake dusted with matcha

After the cheesecakes had frozen, I let them soften up a little and dusted them with some matcha - to extend the Japanese theme.

The wasabi flavour somehow tasted stronger than it did when it was in the mix, yet the intensity of the heat didn't follow the strength of the flavour. This could have been due to the temperature of the cheesecake when eating it (below zero), as no volatiles would have disappeared during the cooking as it was unbaked! My mum claims she's "unsure" about cheesecake, however, she ate it all up. I agree that the wasabi flavour was particularly bitter and that there was a slight cabbagey aftertaste. I think that another flavour needs to be present in order to take the edge off the bitterness such as lime. It would be best served in miniature portions for those with an acquired taste.

This was an experiment so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I have learnt that I should follow a different recipe for an unbaked cheesecake (or just use my baked one!) and to perhaps use less wasabi next time, or make the cheesecakes bite-sized!


  1. I love the look of the cheescakes with the matcha on top. It think it really helps the Japanese theme. I agree with the idea about adding lime to take the edge off the "cabbage" taste, but only just enough lime - you dont want it stealing the show from the wasabi!
    As for the consistancy, I think making it into a frozen desert might be a better route to take, especially if as some people might find the wasabi heat a bit more intense than hardened food veterans like us!
    A successful experiment, and you have a lot of options for different ways to develop it.

  2. hi hazel! what if you tried using wasabi powder instead? i think you could get a better concentration without all the stuff used to make it into a paste, and maybe it won't be so bitter.

  3. Hi Santos! Thanks! I can imagine that would taste a lot better. I have no idea where to get hold of wasabi powder over here though. But if I make it in future I will definitely try it instead of the paste :)

  4. Wow you are adventurous. I love all things "hot" too, but the best I've managed is chilli in my chocolate cakes. the unbaked cheesecake recipe I use is:

    You can equally well make it by mixing the melted chocolate into the mixture rather than having it on the bottom.

    I have wasabi powder - you can by it from specialist shops or large supermarkets.

  5. You could try using something like gellan or sodium alginate to help set the cheese cake.
    Also the best thing to remove bitterness is salt! according to Herve This (French physical chemist).

  6. I will try making it in my home. Thanks for sharing your good ideas. I appreciate your good work and keep posting.

    Gifts to Pakistan


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