Yuzu 'cheesecake' with kataifi pastry and pistachio

Kataifi pastry nests topped with yuzu cheesecake.
Kataifi pastry nests topped with yuzu cheesecake. Photo: William Meppem

With hints of lemon, lime, mandarin and grapefruit, yuzu adds intriguing floral citrus flavours to many dishes, sweet and savoury. In this deconstructed "cheesecake", a curd is made with the yuzu juice before folding it into cream cheese and mascarpone. Fresh yuzu fruit is not easy to come by, but its bottled juice is available from Japanese grocers and select online stores.


For the yuzu curd

1 egg

2 egg yolks

90ml yuzu juice

100g castor sugar

50g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes

For the filling

100g cream cheese

120g mascarpone cream

130ml thickened cream

20g icing sugar

zest of 1 lemon

1-2 tbsp lemon juice

For the kataifi base

50g unsalted butter

50g honey

pinch salt

150g kataifi pastry

20g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped


1. Firstly, make the yuzu curd. Whisk together the whole egg and egg yolks in a bowl and set aside. Put the yuzu juice and sugar in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. As soon as it begins to boil, pour the syrup over the egg, whisking the whole time. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring continuously until it thickens and one or two bubbles appear. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, one cube at a time, until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with cling film and set aside to cool completely before placing in the fridge (this may be prepared up to 3 days ahead).

2. To make the filling, place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low-medium speed for about a minute. Add the mascarpone, cream, icing sugar, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of juice, and beat together gently until combined. Fold in the chilled yuzu curd, and taste before adding more lemon juice if you prefer a sharper flavour. Chill the mixture until ready to serve.

3. To prepare the kataifi bases (you can do this up to one day ahead), place the butter, honey and salt in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until combined, then set aside. Line an oven tray with baking paper, and preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan-forced).

4. In a large bowl, separate and tease out the kataifi strands (without breaking them up too much) and divide into six even clumps, roughly 25g each. Place on a clean work surface. Working with one clump at a time, tease the strands out with your fingers to form a straggly "rope", roughly 35cm long. Roll the rope up loosely to form a kind of coiled nest – you don't want it looking too neat, fluff it up if it is – and place on the lined baking tray. When all 6 nests are on the tray, use a spoon to drizzle the honey butter liberally all over each, then sprinkle with half the chopped pistachio nuts.

5. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the bases are golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

6. To assemble, place bases on plates and spoon a large dollop of the yuzu filling into the middle of each nest. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped pistachios and serve.