"What makes this cheesecake sushi?" I had someone ask when I served these. "It's sushi ingredients on top of a miniature wasabi cheesecake, of course!" I replied confidently. After picking one up and showing it to them, letting them see the cheesecake on the bottom, they came to understand. And so will you!
Cheesecakes don't have to be complicated. In fact, once you understand a few things about the cheesecake process, they're not too difficult. However, this instructable is a bit more involved than a regular cheesecake. I have been playing around with different types of experimental cheesecakes, and this one was definitely a winner. Although a little time consuming, the flavors of the wasabi, cheesecake, and sushi toppings made this dish a big hit at my neighborhood potluck. Not sure how I'll top this one next time.
This east meets west, dessert meets entrée creation would leave people talking, but they'll be too busy eating!
Recipe makes approximately 60 mini cheesecakes with sushi topping.
Step 1: Ingredients
For this multi-step instructable recipe, you'll need ingredients for both the cheesecake and for sushi. You can make this with whatever sushi fillings you like. For this instructable, I'll be demonstrating a California roll.
1 1/4 cups sour cream
20 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup wasabi (This may seem like a lot, but because of the dairy, the flavor is powerful, but the hotness is not.)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 package imitation crab (Either in flakes or sticks)
10 seaweed sheets
Step 2: Make the Cheesecake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease mini muffin tins, or line with muffin paper/foil. Be aware that if you just grease them, they'll be a littler harder to get out of the tins.
Allow ingredients to get to room temperature.
Beat sour cream alone in the mixer. This helps coat the mixer bowl.
Add the cream cheese and sugar to the bowl and mix on medium. (If your cream cheese is not at room temperature, you can microwave it for 15 seconds at a time, up to 45 seconds total.)
Whisk together vanilla, eggs, egg yolks, and heavy cream, in a separate bowl.
Slowly pour this mixture into the mixer. Mix on low.
Mix just until all ingredients are well combined. The filling should have a smooth consistency. Be careful of over mixing as this can cause lots of air bubbles to be incorporated in the filling. Tap the bowl on the counter, in order to force the bubbles to the top.
Step 3: Bake!
Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
Typically, when making a normal cheesecake, I'll employ a bain marie technique. Bain marie is a French term meaning "water bath." If you have an oven safe dish big enough for your pan to fit into, you can put just enough water in the bottom of this pan to come an inch or so up the side of the cheesecake pan. Since I didn't have anything that big, I just filled an extra pan with a little water and placed it in the oven with the cheesecakes. This keeps the humidity up in the oven and helps prevent the cheesecake from cracking. I'm not sure if this is necessary with mini cheesecakes, but I know it is with regular size ones!
Bake for 15 minutes.
Allow cheesecakes to cool. Remove from muffin tins.
Because I didn't have paper cups for my muffin tins, the cheesecakes stuck a little. They weren't popping out, so I got creative and made a scoop out of the top of a water bottle. The plastic was thin enough to slide between the cheesecake and the sides, to separate it and lift out.
Refrigerate cheesecakes for at least 2 hours.
Step 4: On a Roll
Cut the avocado in half and peel. Slice into strips. Cut these in half.
If using imitation crab sticks, separate into thin strips. Flaked crab meat can be used as is.
Slice the cucumber into rounds.
To wrap the cheesecakes, take a sheet of seaweed and slice it into strips big enough to have about 1/4 inch between the top of the cheesecake and the top of the seaweed. The goal is to make a cup for the toppings to rest in. You should be able to get 6 strips per sheet of seaweed. Take a strip of seaweed and wrap around the outside of the cheesecake. Dip your finger into a cup of water and where the seaweed overlaps itself, dab enough water onto it to keep the seaweed from unwrapping.
Place enough avocado on top of the cheesecake and inside the seaweed. Use enough to cover the cheesecake completely.
Place a cucumber round on top of the avocado.
Arrange crab meat on the cucumber. If your're using sticks, you'll want to bunch the stringy pieces till they rest inside the seaweed. With flaked crab meat, you can tear off a few pieces and place them on top.
Top this with a slice of pickled ginger.
Repeat for all cheesecakes.
Anything that goes well in sushi can be used as toppings for these. Some of the ingredients I used for these include tuna, green onions, mango, carrots, and cream cheese.
Step 5: Serve and Enjoy
Keep refrigerated and serve as soon as possible, with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger on the side. You're sure to hear lots of "mmm"s and "Oh my"s from sushi fans.
These came out so pretty, my neighbor insisted on doing a little photo shoot!