Kitchen Confidential: Is Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake worth the weight?

Have you heard of Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese cheesecake? This oh-so-popular dessert from Tetsushi Mizokami, a 67-year-old entrepreneur, has appeared in T.O., and the hype has yet to die down.

Customers will wait for hours for this just-baked six-inch cheesecake, finished with the hot stamp of a caricature of its owner. Pure heaven costs only $8.88. It smells of eggs and sugar and is lighter and less sweet than any cheesecake I’ve ever tasted. There is no crust, and the moist soufflé-type texture comes from folding beaten egg whites into the batter and then baking in a water bath. However, you can’t stock up; there is a one per person rule. And those who just want a piece are out of luck as single slices are a no go. But don’t devour the entire cake — that would amount to almost 80 grams of fat (over 120 per cent of your daily intake and close to 1,200 calories).

Nutrition Facts: Whole six-inch cheesecake from Uncle Tetsu
Serving size: one cake (401.2 g)
Calories 1168
Total Fat 79.6 g
Sodium 648 mg
Carbohydrates 85.2 g
Protein 28 g

You can occasionally afford to down a quarter of the Uncle’s cheesecake, coming in at 292 calories and 20 grams of fat. It’s worthy of the indulgence! But, for a quicker way to get your cheesecake fill at home, try my miniature New York–style cheesecakes for a similar taste and texture.

New York–style mini cheesecakes
Serves 12 • Prep time 10 min • Cooking time 20 min

1 3⁄4 cup smooth light ricotta
1⁄2 cup low-fat cream cheese, softened
1⁄2 cup low-fat sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
fresh berries
icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper muffin liners.
2. Combine all ingredients — save for the berries and icing sugar — in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups.
3. Set the muffin tin in a larger pan or on a baking sheet with sides. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come one-third to one-half up the sides of the muffin cups.
4. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the muffin tin from the water bath and cool to room temperature on a rack. Chill one hour.
6. To serve, remove the paper liners and place on individual serving plates. Garnish with berries and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Nutritional analysis (per serving): Calories 130, Protein 6.2 g, Carbohydrates 17 g, Fibre 0.1 g, Total fat 4.7 g, Saturated fat 2.9 g, Cholesterol 35 mg, Sodium 120 mg