Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Kabocha Cheesecake

Someday in October, I came back home to the fragrant smell of spices. I could tell that it was the perfume of Thanksgiving, as the room stank like pumpkin. My sweet old landlady came to me and said: “[My neighbour]’s oven crashed and so I offered her to use mine instead!” Boy, it smelled so good that I needed to know how to cook that delicious thing in the oven!

A pumpkin coconut cheesecake was the treat. I must say that it tasted really good, but I wanted to add an exotic twist to it. Plus, I have a big preference in preparing everything from scratch and cutting pumpkin tends to be a difficult task. And so, I replaced the pumpkin with kabocha butter squash, and it turns out that the marriage between kabocha, coconut and cream cheese is perfect. In the case where you don’t like kabocha, you can always replace it with pumpkin.

It is a long recipe, but I find it totally worth it!

1 cup steamed kabocha
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp grinded ginger
½ tsp nutmeg and salt
1 tsp vanilla

(Base crust)
1 ½ cup oatmeal
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
A pinch of grounded cinnamon
½ cup shortening (soften at a room temperature)
1 egg

(Cheese filling)
4 eggs
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
500g mascarpone cheese
Shredded coconut
Whipping cream

1. Cut the kabocha into half and steam it for 30 minutes or until it becomes soft and tender.

2. When the kabocha is ready, cut it into pieces and place it in a blender to prepare the purée. Add all the ingredients for the purée and blend until smooth.

3. Preheat the oven at 350°F.

4. For the base crust, you will need to mix all the dry ingredients together. Use your hands to mix the shortening with the dry ingredients and finally add in the egg. Then in a 10 inch diameter cake pan, layer the crust. Press firmly and use a fork to poke the crust, it will help baking evenly. Bake it for 10-15 minutes, do not overcook it since you will need to bake it one more time later. Let it cool in a rack and now set the oven at 325°F for baking the cheesecake later.

5. While waiting for the crust, you shall prepare the cheese filling. With a mixer, beat the eggs, brown sugar and granulated sugar. When everything is combined, add in the mascarpone cheese. Beat until the texture becomes smooth and incorporate the kabocha purée. Then add the shredded coconut and whipping cream. When everything is mixed, pour the filling on the crust.

6. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.

7. Let it cool for a few hours before placing it in the fridge for at least four hours. It tastes best if you let it cool overnight.

Good luck and enjoy!

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