Junior's Cheesecake with Umeboshi Sauce
A while back, I purchased a cookbook at the bargain basement price of US$2.00. It was called, "Welcome to Juniors! Remembering Brooklyn With Recipes and Memories from Its Favorite Restaurant".
Years ago, I had often stopped at Junior's Restaurant on the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. It was right across the street from the DeKalb Avenue subway station that I used to take to work in midtown Manhattan. What I remembered most about Junior's was my time spent there with friends over a cup of coffee and a slice of cheesecake. The really special thing about the cheesecake at Junior's was the thin layer of sponge cake that was used in place of the traditional graham cracker crust.
Well, as luck would have it, I was craving cheesecake and since I had the Junior's cookbook I decided to try and bake one of these special cheesecakes myself. Call me sacrilegious for performing this "experiment", but I thought it worked quite well. The slightly sour saltiness of the umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) sauce contrasted well with the sweet, creamy cheesecake. If you'd like the recipe to Junior's cheesecake, it can be found here.
Here is the recipe that I used for the umeboshi sauce.
Umeboshi sauce: (enough for one 9" cheesecake)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon ultrafine sugar*
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon shiso leaves*(from your jar of umeboshi)
3 umeboshi*, pitted
- Shiso leaves (salted beefsteak plant leaves) are not required, however, I felt it gave the sauce added saltiness.
- Number of umeboshi used depend on the size and the amount of flavor you'd like your sauce to have. The umeboshi I used were about an inch in diameter.
- Adjust sugar to the desired level of sweetness.
Combine water and sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then turn down the heat to simmer. Add in umeboshi and shiso leaves (if using). Simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain liquid through a sieve, reserving umeboshi and discarding shiso leaves.
Pit umeboshi and discard the seeds. Combine flesh with the reserved liquid and purée until smooth using a hand blender (about 10 seconds). Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight -- sauce should thicken slightly. Spread evenly over cheesecake before serving, drizzling any remaining sauce on dessert plates.