Green Tea Cheesecake

I’m not a believer in perfection, in life nor in the kitchen. Every endeavor we choose to undertake is an additional notch in our endless belts, a constant work in progress. That said, I present to you two things: my very first and very own Hungry to Happy recipe with all its dreaminess and tasty imperfections and a newly rejuvenated and more hopeful me, freshly graduated with a college degree and henceforth, thrust into the “real world.” Talk about accomplishments, these are huge notches for me!
Creamy, dreamy filling in-the-making!But alas, like all other works in progress, there’s always room for tapping, tweaking, and discovering. Case in point, this near-perfect Green Tea Cheesecake. After having baked more than a couple cheesecakes using a number of wonderfully decadent recipes in my not-so-lengthy lifetime, I decided to get experimental and forge my own. It was alluring with its creamy and earthy filling, rich and toasty crust, and tart and juicy raspberry, but it wasn’t perfect. To my utter horror and glee, it was baked for my first catering event (with the restaurant I represent) for an affluent group of socialites at an effulgent palace of a home. Despite the petrifying need for “perfection,” though imperative at that moment and in others, my minor shortcomings didn’t hinder my ability to learn, to succeed.Imperfect were the slightly too sweet coconut-graham cracker crust, the absence of that extra teaspoon of matcha powder, and the rushed impromptu presentation. I was irritatingly fixated on the cheesecake’s flaws, my own flaws. But then, I realized, after the desserts were served and eaten, most of these plates were coming back scraped clean. These self-proclaimed mistakes and deficiencies, though perhaps unnoticed by others, contributed to my success rather than my failure.  Not because the guests had deemed my dessert still decent enough to devour, but because in my first attempt at inventing and creating, I inevitably fell short of perfection – an ideal that I am reminded time and time again, does not truly exist. Now, what I know does exist, however, is the ability to embrace mistakes and consciously refine and reinvent a better recipe for a better cheesecake, and better yet, a better you. With college and 2011 almost completely behind me, I can’t think of a more rewarding project and resolution to work on, especially with all this rightfully earned free time I have! But for now, I’d say cheers to savoring delicious imperfections.
Green Tea Cheesecake with a Coconut-Graham Cracker Crust
A slightly revised and nevertheless revisable Hungry to Happy recipe

Ingredients:

For Crust

3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (if using sweetened, minimize sugar to 1 tbspn)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

For Filling

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup green tea syrup
3 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

For Topping

sifted powdered sugar (optional)
sifted green tea powder (optional)
ripe raspberries

Preparation:

Make Crust

Preheat oven to 350°F and butter bottom and side of 9 to 9 1/2 inch springform pan (or mini cheesecake pan).

Stir together crumbs, coconut flakes, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press evenly onto bottom and one-third up side of pan. Bake crust in middle of oven 8 minutes and cool in pan on a rack.

Make Filling

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add green tea syrup, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in green tea powder and salt at low speed, scraping down side as needed, until just incorporated, then add eggs all at once and mix just until incorporated.

Pour filling into crust and set springform pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake cake in middle of oven until set in center, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes (or 25-35 minutes in mini pan). Cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.)

Run a thin knife around edge of cake and remove side of pan. If desired, transfer cake with a large metal spatula to a serving plate.

Garnish with powdered sugar and/or green tea powder and top with fresh raspberries. Serve with toasted coconut flakes, if desired.

 

Cheesecake

16 comments

  1. MyFudo

    This is such a unique combination. I drink green tea and eat cheesecake together but in separate entities. I have never had them together in one dish. I am so excited to try this out. Thanks for sharing!

  2. MyFudo

    This is such a unique combination. I drink green tea and eat cheesecake together but in separate entities. I have never had them together in one dish. I am so excited to try this out. Thanks for sharing!

  3. malia

    these look absolutely delicious!!! the pictures came out super nice and they actually look pretty perfect in my eyes! i love the life lesson along with the description…reading ur posts always inspire me as well as….make me hungry =) anyways heres to 2012 and everything in it! i’m off to raid the fridge for somethin sweet to eat…

  4. Jessica

    The toughest critic is always yourself! Even though you can see all the little mistakes and things you could have done better, no one else probably noticed! I’m sure they were scrumptious! They sure look like it.

  5. Jessica

    The toughest critic is always yourself! Even though you can see all the little mistakes and things you could have done better, no one else probably noticed! I’m sure they were scrumptious! They sure look like it.

  6. Joe

    ” Art is a reality, not a definition; in as much as it approaches a reality, it approaches perfection, and inasmuch as it approaches a mere definition, it is imperfect and untrue.” – Benjamin Haydon.

    Your an artist ….you will always strive for perfection with everything you do. Great job on this recipe…its well thought out on flavor, texture, sense and appearence….beautiful…..

    • Haein

      Allison: You can usually find green tea syrup at Asian-specialty grocery stores. If not, I’d recommend substituting it for half the amount of green tea powder (either by itself or mixed with a little bit of simple syrup – on its own should be fine though). I hope this helps!

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