Steamed Cheesecake (With Recipe)

As you probably know, I've been teaching Japanese cooking classes through the summer. Every week we make a light breakfast, a lunch with four dishes, and a dessert. While looking for a new dessert a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for cream cheese puffs, a sort of cheesecake parody. I loved the idea, but the recipe was made in the microwave, which is a problem for me, because I don't have a microwave. So I took some time to change it up for steaming on the stovetop. So far we've made it at two of my classes and it has been a huge hit! Plus, people seemed to really like the pictures I posted on Instagram and Facebook.

Steaming is a great medium for "baking", giving your deserts a very unique texture. Since ovens are still very rare in Japan, you'll come across steaming recipes for things like custard, cakes, and breads. The cheesecake is a perfect match, since as with a baked Japanese cheesecake, these little guys are spongier than their western cousins. The mild flavor is perfectly complimented by the wilted strawberry on top. So, without further ado, here is the recipe for steamed cheesecake!

You will need:

1/4 c cream cheese

1/2 tbls sake

1 tbls heavy cream

1 tbls vegetable oil

Vanilla to taste

2 medium eggs

1/4 sugar

1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

4 large strawberries

4 ramekins

A steamer that can hit the ramekins. I used a bamboo steamer set in my wok.

Slice the strawberries several times down the length, but keeping the base together so you end up with a slashed strawberry (see diagram). Sprinkle with sugar, making sure to get between slices, and set aside. The sugar will help to “wilt” the strawberry.

On a double boiler, warm the cream cheese and sake, mixing it occasionally, until you can it becomes creamy. Remove from heat and add heavy cream, oil, and vanilla, mixing well, until it is smooth. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix well. Finally, add the cream cheese mixture. Mix until fully combined.

Divide the batter among 4 ramekins, they should end up half full. 

Place ramekins in a steamer basket and steam for 10 minutes. 

Remove ramekins from steam and allow to cool completely. Top each puff with a strawberry and enjoy!

If you've enjoyed this post and recipe, you will might like Chizukeki: Japanese Cheesecake where I make a more familiar baked cheesecake. Of course it is Japanese, so it's a bit different from western cheesecakes. Totally delicious!

My question for you today is, have you ever made a steamed dessert? Let me know in the comment section below!

Until next time, steam on you crazy diner!