Updated Jan 20, 2020 (Originally published February 19, 2017)
I created this yuzu cheesecake back in 2017 for my very first blogiversary! It's been over two years since I made it and I can still remember how perfectly creamy and tangy it was!
When I was brainstorming an appropriate dessert to celebrate the one year anniversary of my blog, the first thing that came to mind was cake. Who doesn't love birthday cake, right? But I felt like birthday cake is so overdone and wanted to do something a little different and a little more creative.
I combined my Japanese and American roots and made yuzu cheesecake. Creamy and rich individual cheesecakes topped with tangy yuzu curd.
Tristan even said they might be his favorite cheesecake. I asked him about this cheesecake two years later and he still claims this to be one of his favorites! Although to be fair, I don't make cheesecakes very often.
What is yuzu?
Yuzu is a Japanese citrus. It's sharp and sour like a lemon but the flavor and fragrance are very distinct. You would never peel a yuzu and eat as you would an orange.
Trust me, you don't want to do it.
In cooking, the peel can be used to add a citrus note to pickles, used as a garnish on soups, or made into marmalade. The Koreans make a yuzu marmalade and add it to hot water to create a hot drink called yuja-cha which they drink in the winter as an herbal remedy.
The juice is used to make ponzu sauce, one of my favorite condiments! People also float whole yuzu fruits in their bathtubs to extract the essential oils from the rind and infuse the bathwater with its beautiful aroma.
How to make yuzu cheesecake
The first step in making these individual yuzu cheesecakes is to make the yuzu curd. Yuzu curd is basically a lemon curd that uses yuzu zest and juice instead of lemon. It's rich yet zesty and tangy and goes well on anything. Toast, cookies, cakes, you name it!
While the yuzu curd is chilling in the fridge, make the buttery crust. Many cheesecakes call for graham crackers, but I love using butter biscuits. It makes for a very rich cheesecake, but the extra salt and butter makes it oh so decadent!
The best thing about these cheesecakes is that it's baked in a muffin pan. Shorter baking time, no water bath while baking, and cools faster which means less time spent waiting to eat them!
You should really let the cheesecakes chill in the fridge for an hour, but how can anyone wait that long when the house smells of amazing cheesecake?! But really, try to wait 30 minutes at least. You want set, not jiggly and loose, cheesecakes.
I used about 2 teaspoons of yuzu curd to top each cheesecake, but you could use as much as you like! The recipe for the yuzu curd makes enough for exactly one batch of individual cheesecakes, but I only baked half the batch this time so I don't eat them all. So I had half my yuzu curd in the fridge, and made little sandwiches using the leftover butter biscuits from the crust!
Of course, this is after eating
some a good amount with a spoon straight out of the bowl.
I topped my yuzu cheesecake with candied yuzu peel. If you can't find any, no worries, these yuzu cheesecakes are delightful on their own!
The tart sunny flavor of the yuzu curd complements the rich cheesecake so nicely. If you're up for a change from topping your cheesecakes with berries or caramel, give this yuzu cheesecake a try!
I mean, really. Look how creamy that is!
- 3 tablespoons (42.5g) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (25g) granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup (60ml) yuzu juice
- 1-2 teaspoons yuzu zest
- 2.5 oz (71g) butter biscuits
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, melted
- 16 oz (454g) cream cheese
- ½ cup (120ml) sour cream
- ½ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- candied yuzu peel (optional)
- In a bowl, beat the unsalted butter, sugar, and salt until combined. Stir in the egg and egg yolks one at a time. Add the yuzu juice and continue to mix. Transfer the bowl onto a double boiler and keep on whisking until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the double boiler and pour the yuzu curd into a clean bowl through a fine sieve to remove any clumps that may have formed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and press the wrap onto the surface of the curd so it doesn't form a film. Chill in the refrigerator to thicken.
- Put the butter biscuits in a Ziploc bag and crush them into fine crumbs. Pour the melted butter in the bag and work the butter into the crumbs until combined.
- Line a muffin pan with paper liners, and press a heaped tablespoon of the crumb mixture into each paper liner.
- Preheat the oven to 302°F/150°C.
- Put the cream cheese and sour cream into a bowl and beat until combined. Once there are no lumps, add the sugar and continue to mix. Add the egg and vanilla extract and stir.
- Scoop the batter evenly over the crust and bake for about 20 minutes. The centers of the cheesecakes should still be a little wobbly. Let the cheesecakes cool slightly in the pan before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Chill the cheesecakes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. Top each cheesecake with as much yuzu curd as you like. Garnish with a candied yuzu peel on top.
SAVE TO PINTEREST FOR LATER!