a rare pistachio cheesecake (rare in the sense of no-bake that is; relatively commonplace pistachios) with a molded yuzu posset, and oh gee, kijiji
I had a terrible history with Kijiji. It began during the naivety of being a first year in university. Opening up my course outlines ahead of time (ahead of time!) I divined that “required textbooks” were required (when in fact it is very course-dependent), and also that I was actually meant to buy them. They were horrifically expensive, as textbooks are apt to be, but at least by sourcing them from the used bookstore and Kijiji, they were only terribly expensive – one step down from horrific.
I put the most effort into the recreation of a three book set for my chemistry course – a textbook, a workbook, and an addition book called Chemistry for Engineers, and all of which had to be the current updated editions. Why I would need Chemistry for Engineers when I was not in engineering escaped me, but I knew the booklist didn’t lie. It said “required” after all.
I bought Chemistry for Engineers off of Kijiji from an upper year student. As we stood in a quiet campus hallway near the foodcourt, she kindly asked whether I was taking engineering.
“No, it’s just required for my chemistry course,” I told her. She looked confused. I refused to doubt myself.
By the time I managed to track the three components down from different sources, the total sum amounted to marginally less than the cost of new books – with travel costs in public transit tickets included, I just about broke even.
I never opened Chemistry for Engineers and to this day still do not know what engineers should know about chemistry. The last time I checked, it lingers, melancholic and unsold, on the shelves of the university consignment store … though I’m being a bit hard on Chemistry for Engineers as I also never opened up the general chemistry textbook, nor the workbook.
The next time I had the bravado (or rather, desperation) to peruse Kijiji happened in a frantic rush when my laptop keyboard broke – I had a cord-tailed mouse to plug in but without being able to use any of keys, I was finding it a bit difficult to get any work done. After asking a laptop shop, they told me to come back after performing a certain type of reboot – a reboot which required a certain combination of keys, none of which were functional.
I bought a $5 keyboard from someone who was selling a boxful and had very nice glasses. I can’t blame anyone but myself for not having the insight – or common sense – to check that the keyboard worked before leaving with it.
“Were they cute?” was the first thing my friend, who was waiting to pick me up outside, asked when I got back in the car, now with a keyboard in tow because apparently finding dates through the twisted strings of Kijiji-drawn fate is a thing – and I suppose we did have a mutual interest in keyboards.
As was foreshadowed (being written in hindsight), only half of the keys on the keyboard worked – this wouldn’t have been a problem except that I just happened to be missing most of the keys needed for the reboot. The computer shop was much more sympathetic when I returned, broken keyboard and desperate eyes in tow.
Of course, there have been some bright points – cheap furniture and even a rental apartment.
Now I get to find myself on the other side as I try to sell some of my grandma’s printer ink (not for the purposes of swindling my grandma but because she got a new printer). Hopefully others have better experiences at my hand. I’ll be sure to ask: are you sure this is the type of ink you need?
This is a very lightly sweetened unbaked cheesecake – based on a Japanese rare cheesecake softened with yoghurt, set with gelatin and lightened with whipped cream. I use salted pistachio butter which made the cheesecake a bit salty and satisfyingly slightly savoury, a theme continued in the intensely buckwheat sable on the bottom. Part of the reason I wanted to keep the cheesecake fairly savoury was that it lay below the yuzu posset, which by necessity, contains quite a bit of sugar. And citrus and nuts can be paired with some fruit – a bit piled on top, more on the plates – I had white nectarines, but whatever you have around.
I think key revelation in this dessert was the molded posset, a pudding of cream cooked with sugar and acid, and set solely by those means. It’s a good repository for yuzu juice, which tastes a bit like many different citruses that I’m more familiar with at once, mostly like orange to me, but with other aromas.
Setting a posset in a mold was something that I had been pondering, but I wasn’t sure whether it would manage to hold its shape. I poured the posset into a small silicone mold and froze it for ease of popping out of the molds and arranging them. While you can’t fiddle with the posset after its thawed, they held their perfectly – the pictures show the thawed possets.
As sugar is important to the posset’s structure, I didn’t cut down on it at all, which left the posset very rich and creamy, acidic, but also very sweet. The intensity makes posset work quite well as a smaller component/garnish instead of the main focus.
Also, the posset is delicious frozen! It’s freezes to a texture that is firm, but biteable and so solidly creamy, not hard or crystalline in the slightest. I take back what I said about garnish – I would eat a slightly thawed frozen posset all on its own.
pistachio rare cheesecake with yuzu posset and white nectarine
buckwheat sable – can halve recipe as I had more than enough for two cakes
60g butter at room temperature
1/2 tsp kosher salt
32g beaten egg at room temperature
20g buckwheat flour
64g whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
lightened rare pistachio cheesecake
20g (1 tbsp + 1 tsp) water
5g powdered gelatin – could reduce
100g cream cheese at room temperature
40g salted pistachio butter
85g heavy cream, whipped
molded yuzu posset
96g heavy cream
1 tbsp yuzu juice
white nectarine or other fruit
For the sable: Cream the butter with the sugar and salt. Beat the egg and add a little bit at a time, mixing it in thoroughly with each addition. Add the flour. Roll out between two sheets of parchment into a circle until it is around 7mm thick. Chill completely. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until firmed up and browned along edges. Let cool completely, then use a 12-cm ring as a guide to cut out a 12-cm circle and place it inside the ring.
For the cheesecake: Bloom the gelatin in the water. Cream the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and cream until incorporated. My pistachio butter was stiffer than the cream cheese so I mixed a bit of the cream cheese at a time into the pistachio butter
Microwave the gelatin to melt it, then whisk into the cream cheese mixture. Whisk in the yoghurt. Whisk in one third of the cream, then fold in the remaining.
Place the ring containing the sable base on a plate or a parchment lined baking sheet. Fill with the cheesecake, smooth the top, and cover with a sheet of parchment paper (a bit of a smoother surface) or plastic. Chill overnight or at least for a few hours until set.
For the molded yuzu posset: Boil the cream and sugar for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and add the yuzu juice, whisking until incorporated. Transfer to a cup with a pouring spout and fill 3-cm diameter silicon dome molds with the posset – I had enough to fill 12 domes. Freeze until solid – give it an hour.
Pop the yuzu possets out of the mold and arrange on top of the set cheesecake. Allow the possets time to thaw before serving – or don’t, because frozen posset is also quite lovely. Serve with white nectarine or other fruit such as peaches or plums.