Time: a plated dessert

When I was listening to Utada Hikaru’s song “Time”, I was thinking about what kinds of desserts could accompany that soulful, slow, jazzy tune. I thought about coffee, cafes, and other things pertaining to that, and from there, my mind went to hojicha. Hojicha is a toasted Japanese green tea, with this nutty, earthy flavor to it. I felt like it would work better than coffee in this kind of dessert, because it is less bitter and more delicate. So I went with a hojicha ice cream, a hojicha cheesecake, and a vanilla milk crumble, just to showcase a couple different ways dairy products can be used, since these products are all essentially milk, but having been changed over time. Yeah, I know, I tied it together.

For the hojicha ice cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup hojicha powder
3 egg yolks
3/4 cups granulated sugar
A pinch of salt

Heat the heavy cream with hojicha powder on low heat. In a bowl, whisk your egg yolks, sugar, and salt together until pale yellow and glossy. Pour half of the hojicha cream into the eggs while whisking. Pour everything together in the pot on low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain your mixture and chill it down to room temperature. Churn in an ice cream maker and freeze the ice cream for at least an hour before serving.

For the hojicha burnt cheesecake:
3 tablespoons hojicha powder
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

In a bowl, whip everything together except for the heavy cream and flour. Once those ingredients are incorporated into a homogenous, smooth mixture, fold in the cream and flour. Pour into two parchment-lined 4-inch springform molds, and bake at 485 degrees F for 13 minutes, then broil for another 2, making sure to snip any parchment that hangs more than 1/4 inch above the rim of the molds. Freeze the cheesecakes for an hour before attempting to slice.

For the vanilla crumb:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon milk powder
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix ingredients together. Spread the dough in small, crumbled pieces on a silpat and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Crush up the pieces into a smaller crumb.

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