Honestly, I've always mocked 'deconstructed' food. Sure, when done right, it looks as beautiful as fine art... but most of the time, it just ends up looking like an accident. However, since I had my heart set on putting my own twist on mizu shingen mochi (the Instagram-famous Japanese raindrop cake)... I ended up doing a bit of 'deconstruction' myself. I'm actually pretty proud of the cheesecake quenelle, I used to be pretty bad at quenelles!
It took two attempts to get the texture of the mizu shingen mochi correct, and even then it's not as crystal-clear as some of the ones on the interweb. I put this down to the type of agar used to set it: others have had the same issue. If I would have followed the original recipes for example, my jelly would have been rock-hard an opaque, and in the end I used a tiny 1g of powdered agar to 500ml liquid. This is the brand I used, by the way:
I can't guarantee this recipe will work with another brand since results seem so varied between them. Another very, very important thing you must do is weigh the agar. I got a cheap pair of tiny scales from eBay for the job.
On experimenting with moulds, I tried two kinds: my silicone hemisphere moulds, and a couple of round-bottomed glasses. To my surprise the glasses were the best, with the jelly just sliding out of them. The silicone seemed to cling to the jelly, and made them break. In short: use glass or hard plastic moulds (this will make about four large-ish ones).
Finally, used an alcohol-based extract rather than an oil-based one. I have no idea if the mizu shingen mochi will set quite as well with an oil extract... I suspect not.
Oh, and *finally* finally... yes, I did use store-bought biscuits. I just couldn't bring myself to bake a whole batch just to smash up for one shot. I used Nice biscuits because they've got coconut in them, which is always a good match with rum and lime.
With all of that in mind, let's go!
Mizu Shingen Mochi Ingredients
250ml white rum
1 tbsp caster sugar
A few drops of peppermint extract
1g powdered agar
Lime Cheesecake Ingredients
200g double cream
100g cream cheese
1 tbsp caster sugar
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of Nice biscuits, roughly crushed
Handful of raspberries
1) Place the rum, water, sugar and peppermint extract in a saucepan, and sprinkle over the agar powder. Stir well, bring to the boil for a minute, and pour into your moulds. Let them cool down to room temperature, and refrigerate for at least two hours (agar sets faster than gelatine). If you like, you can suspend a mint leaf in them: wait until they stop steaming in the moulds and pop one in. Don't do it straight away though, or the leaves will turn black, and don't wait too long as the jelly does set fast.
2) Whisk the cheesecake ingredients together until it forms stiff peaks, and refrigerate for two hours as well.
3) When you're ready to serve, pop the mizu shingen jellies out of their moulds, and serve with a scoop of cheesecake, a scattering of crushed biscuits, some berries and a sprinkling of lime zest. Serve it fast: the misu shingen mochi will melt fast.
That's it, really: it's a simple process, it just takes a bit of a knack to get the raindrop cake right. Good luck, and have fun!