Uncle Tetsu has been all the rage in Toronto ever since it opened up on Bay and Dundas. Line-ups would start before the store was open. Some people could be waiting up to 3 hours just to try a piece of Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake! What was so special about this Japanese cheesecake? Isn’t it the same as the ones in the Asian bakery stores?, I thought. It wasn’t until my brother was sweet enough to save half of his cake that his girlfriend patiently waited in line for. Compared to other Asian bakeries’ Japanese cheesecake, Uncle Tetsu’s cheese flavour was more prominent and more moist. This was a pleasant surprise. Now, comparing it to the classic New York Cheesecake that I grew up with, Uncle Tetsu is much lighter in flavour and texture. I enjoyed the fluffier cheesecake of Uncle Tetsu’s and I would definitely go out and purchase one of his cheesecakes when the line-ups lessen.
In the mean time, I’ll have to try and simulate Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake at home. The recipe that I used as a guiding point was from justonecookbook. From all the other Japanese cheesecake recipes that I looked at, her photos of her final product resembled a lot like Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake, moist and fluffy. Some of the ingredients I had to adjust to what I had available at home. I also decided to lower the oven temperature since I was using a smaller springform pan and I didn’t want to dry out the cheesecake. I opted out of the apricot jam as I wanted only the naked cheesecake like Uncle Tetsu’s.
- 2 x 250g (8oz) package of cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup and 6 tbsp of granulated sugar, measured separately
- ¼ cup of diced unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 large eggs yolks, at room temperature
- 6 large egg whites at room temperature
- 150 ml of heavy cream, at room temperature
- 50 ml of milk, at room temperature
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
- 8 tbsp all-purpose flour, sifted three times
- Line 7” and two 4.5” springform pan with parchment paper. Line the bottom with aluminum foil and set aside in a baking tray.
- Preheat oven to 300F. Start boiling water.
- Beat cream cheese and 6 tbsp of sugar until light and fluffy.
- Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, mix heavy cream, milk, and vanilla bean paste. Beat egg yolks into cream mixture.
- Add butter into the sugar and cream cheese mixture until well incorporated.
- Next, add the liquid ingredients (cream and egg mixture and lemon juice) until smooth.
- Add all the all-purpose flour and mix until just incorporated.
- In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites and ½ cup of sugar until stiff peaks.
- Note: Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature instead of chilled as the egg whites will whip up quicker into stiff peaks. It doesn’t matter if you add the sugar slowly when the egg whites are foamy or if you add all the sugar at once; it did not affect my final end product.
- Fold egg whites into the cream cheese mixture 1/3 at a time.
- Pour into springform pan. Add boiling water to the baking tray to set up a water bath for the cheesecake. Ideally, the water should come up just less than half way up the springform pan.
- Bake for 60 minutes at 300F then drop the temperature to 275F for the final baking time of about 25 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door cracked open for about 15 minutes before taking it out to cool completely.
- Note: My cheesecake cracked at these temperatures, and I think it was because I was opening the door to check whether it was done or not. If I had to do it again, I would maybe bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes at 300F and 45 minutes at 275F before turning it off.
I was actually quite impressed with the texture and taste of the cheesecake. It reminded me a lot like Uncle Tetsu’s. Despite the ugly cracks on my cheesecake, it was moist and fluffy like a cloud. The cheese flavour was present but not overwhelming. It is without a doubt, a must try recipe, if you can’t get your hands on Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake or if you have a couple hours to spare at home.