More fun with the iSi siphon: cheesecake foam.

Deconstructed Cheesecake with cheesecake foam and blackberry ravioli

In the past I’ve mentioned how Michael is not much of a dessert person but that the introduction of the iSi has changed that–if only slightly–but there is one dessert he loves and yet we never make at home: cheesecake.

(I’d make a bad joke about being a ‘bad wife” and not making it for him, but seriously–if he really wanted it that badly he would have made some himself by now. He did ask my mother for some baking tips to make one over Christmas so perhaps when I see a springform pan appear in an Amazon order I’ll know that he’s serious about giving one a try.) In all fairness, there was a really, really good reason for why we never made it when we lived in either New York or Stamford: one cheesecake is way too much for two otherwise reasonable people to eat, and to be completely frank we’d probably end up like Rachel and Chandler from the Friends episode “The One With All the Cheesecake,” driven to cheesecake-induced madness:

Cheesecake foam on vanilla wafers with berries.

So instead we would sometimes get it when we’d go out, or more importantly take every chance to indulge when either of our moms would make one from scratch. After the iSi came into our lives, though, I started wondering if it would be possible to replicate the taste of cheesecake, albeit in a lighter, aerated fashion. Some poking around on the internet answered that question quickly–of course it was yes–and so I started playing around with one recipe that I found particularly interesting.

The primary challenge with this dish is dealing with the cream cheese itself. You have to allow the cream cheese to first come to room temperature and you also have to let the batter go for quite a while in your stand mixer to make sure that no lumps are overlooked. The water and yogurt help bring everything together, but it seems like no matter how long you let it go, there will inevitably be a couple of pieces of cheese that refuse to fully cooperate and incorporate into the rest of the mixture. The solution I’ve found is when you’re carefully spooning the mixture into the canister, keep any large lumps you find in the mixer bowl and beat them again–they will break down and become much more siphon-friendly with just a little more time.

You will be rewarded for this little bit of added effort and attention, because this stuff can be used in so many ways. I’ve topped little vanilla wafers with some of this foam and then topping them with some fresh berries, and I’ve also topped some larger chocolate biscuits from England that were good, but almost too intense when combined together. Most recently, though, I had the thought to deconstruct the cheesecake with some modernist food techniques and so over the weekend I tested out a combination of cheesecake foam over a bed of chocolate graham cracker crust and served alongside a blackberry raviolo. The ravioli need a bit of work (the technique is there but I want to get the flavors right) and deserve their own post. In the meantime, you can comfort yourself with the fluffiest and creamiest cheesecake filling you’ll ever taste.

Wow. Much modern.

Cheesecake Foam
adapted from Not Quite Nigella

Fills one pint-sized iSi siphon

1 8 oz package cream cheese, brought to room temperature
100 g filtered water
1 tablespoon vanilla or the innards of a vanilla bean scraped out
50 g sugar
50 g yogurt (I would imagine that full-fat would be slightly tastier, but even the non-fat that was available to me worked really well and yielded a very light foam)
1.5 tablespoons honey (or to taste)

Start beating the cream cheese on medium-low in the bowl of a stand mixer, and as it becomes smooth add the other ingredients and let it get very smooth. (Adjust flavorings to taste.) Carefully spoon the mixture into the canister of an iSi siphon, reserving any large lumps in the bowl and re-mixing them to smooth them out before adding any additional batter into the can. Close the canister, charge with two cream cartridges (shake the canister between charges to help distribute the gas) and let chill for at least an hour before serving.

To dispense, invert the can and carefully pull the trigger into serving vessel of choice.

  1. Brianne said:

    Much modern indeed! This is crazy–I love that you’re into this stuff, because I don’t think I can perform at that level. Cheesecake is my favorite thing in the universe. I made one at home once–it required 5(!!! What was I thinking? I guess I just really love cheesecake!) packs of cream cheese and was way, way, WAY too much for the guy and I. I’ve thought about making another one, but I just can’t. I would like to play with Milk Bar’s liquid cheesecake, though–that seems more manageable.

    • I had to look up that liquid cheesecake and it does look damn tasty–please let me know what you think of it if you do make it! Five bars of cream cheese, on the other hand, sounds ridiculous even to this cheese-loving person.

    Like I would seriously give a sense to be lactose tolerant so I could eat shit like this.
    Because I’ve YET to find lactose pills that work and it’s an incredible game of Russian Roulette trying to figure out which ones would.

    I bow down to you lady for doing this and experimenting the way you have.
    Only you and 1 other blogger I know play this way.
    I wanna play too 😦

    Well done wifey 🙂

    • Lactose intolerance suuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. One of my friends swears by Lactaid pills (even the generic ones) whenever he wants to dive into a cheese plate, but I’m sure that’s a mileage may vary kind of situation.

      I do know of a sabayon recipe that’s just sugar, egg yolks, and marsala that would agree with you much more–I need to try to make it again now that I’ve gotten more comfortable with this siphon.

  3. biz319 said:

    While I don’t go for desserts all that often, that does look amazeballs! Can’t wait for the raviolo post!

  4. shannon said:

    i am thiiiiiis close to getting this iSi siphon, thanks to you. Because i need one more kitchen gadget like i need a hole in the head, but i mean…it’s getting difficult to resist.
    you are SO DEAD ON about cheesecake being a ridiculous thing to make at home, because it’s huge. there is no avoiding it. When i get a craving for it (i’m one of those people who want a few bites of it and then i’m over it) i usually make one, have some, and take the rest over to Tim’s mom’s house so they can freeze it: they love cheese cake.
    I feel like this siphon thing would solve all my problems regarding cheesecake, obviously.

  5. Wendy said:

    I am soooo going to try this. I shared with the gals in my office and we are all intriqued!!!

  6. Clarissa said:

    I just made this last night for a dinner party and it was a huge success. Everyone loved it! I topped with a graham cracker crumble and sliced strawberries. Yum! Thanks for the recipe! I can’t wait for more on that raviolo!

    • REALLY? THIS HAS MADE MY DAY!! Seriously, thank you so much for letting me know it worked out well–and now I really do need to do that raviolo post.

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