Though often maligned, the microwave is a great piece of equipment that most of us have in our kitchens. Microwaves work by emitting radio waves that enter the food and interact with water, fats, and sugars, causing them to vibrate and creating heat in the food. Thicker, denser foods cook more unevenly because it’s harder for the microwaves to penetrate their interiors. Microwaves still cook more evenly than conventional ovens because the heat can be generated throughout the food instead of having to work its way from the outside in. We aerate the batter for these “Danishes” using an iSi whipped cream dispenser, and the batter expands easily in the microwave, creating a spongelike appearance and incredibly light texture while still retaining the creamy cheese flavor of an actual Danish. We like to pair them with fresh berries because the contrast of their sweet tart flavor and firmer texture helps bring out the ethereal qualities of these wonderful little cakes.
Microwave Cheese “Danish”
Makes about 12 cakes
9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon / 150 grams whole milk
5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons / 24 grams egg white powder
7 ounces / 200 grams cream cheese
1⁄4 cup / 75 grams Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons / 25 grams all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon / 1.5 grams fine sea salt
1⁄4 cup / 10 grams finely ground freeze-dried strawberries, for dusting the cakes (optional)
Put the milk in a blender and turn it on low speed. Sprinkle in the egg white powder and increase the speed to medium. Puree the mixture for 15 seconds. Turn off the blender and add the cream cheese, syrup, flour, and salt. Turn the speed to high and puree until smooth, at least 30 seconds.
Pour the batter into the 1-liter canister of an iSi whipped cream dispenser and put the lid on. Charge with one N2O charger and then shake to distribute the gas and allow it to be absorbed into the batter. Repeat with a second charger. The batter should feel and sound fluid in the canister. Take twelve 8-ounce (225-gram) paper cups and use the tip of a paring knife to make a slit in the bottom of each cup and 3 slits around the sides to let steam vent as the danishes cook. The batter will be thick enough to not leak through. Dispense the batter into the paper cups, filling each halfway. Working with one at a time, microwave on high for 30 seconds. Immediately remove the cup from the microwave and invert it (with the cake still in it) and set it on a plate or tray to keep the cakes from falling as they cool.
Once all the cakes are cooked, refrigerate the cups (still inverted) for at least 1 hour, until they are fully chilled and set. Use a paring knife to loosen the edges of each cold “Danish” from its cup and shake it free. Use a small fine-mesh sieve to dust them with freeze-dried strawberry powder, if desired, and serve immediately.
This article was excerpted from Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot’s new book Maximum Flavor: Recipes That Will Change The Way You Cook. The pair are the creators of the Kitchen Alchemy series on PopSci.com and blog at Ideas In Food.