Monday, May 5, 2008

Start Spreading the News

I love NY. . . cheesecake, that is. My love affair with it began in 12th grade when I worked for a cheesecake bakery called Kathy's Cheesecakes in Detroit. Kathy made the best cheesecakes I've ever eaten, and she made them NY style. Ever since then, I've been on a quest to find a cheesecake as good as hers. (See below for the closest runners up.)

Well, I have been deprived of many of my favorite desserts while dieting the last four months. So this week when I got off my diet, one of the first things I wanted to eat was cheesecake. And not just any cheesecake, NY style cheesecake. In spite of the fact that every Tom, Dick, and Harry restaurant claims to have NY style cheesecake, most don't. Most don't even know what a NY style cheesecake is. They just add that "NY" onto it to make it sound more fancy. But the truth is, there is an actual style of cheesecake that is traditional NY style, and it is heaven.

It starts off with a baked dough crust, kind of like a sugar cookie, on the bottom. There is no crust on the sides. I have had a few good NY style cheesecakes where the cake itself is right, but they used a graham cracker crust. That is not the traditional way--it is the lazy baker's way--but some do it that way. It's acceptable, just not as good. Then the cheesecake itself is baked to a golden brown on top. It's not pale and pasty. It tends to be a tall cake, and usually the edges are higher than the middle--something about the baking process. The texture is fluffy, not gooey or pudding like. It is light and breaks away with a slight sucking sound when you pull a bite off. It should be slightly cakey, almost the texture of a pound cake, not wet like cream cheese. I good test is to slice it with a knife. If there is goo on the knife, it's not NY style.

Here are some pictures to clear it up:




NY STYLE (Although the one in the background is not NY style)



And personally, I like it with nothing on it. I'm kind of a purist that way. I don't want strawberry sauce or raspberries or even my beloved hot fudge. Just give it to me straight. NY style.

Lately I've been tricked into eating several so-called NY style cheesecakes that were not NY style. They were creamy, gluey, thick, frosting-like, some good some bad, but none of them NY style. I won't diss the Cheesecake Factory. They have good cheesecakes. But they're not NY style. When I want something special or fancy, I'll go there. But when I want a true NY style cheesecake I go to The Macaroni Grill, Mimis, and, surprisingly, Rumbi Island Grill (although the one by my house hasn't had it in a couple of months). Real NY style cheesecakes are harder to find than you would think. If you know of any others, please let me know! I don't have a good NY style cheesecake within a 15 minute drive of my house.

That's how I like my cheesecake. What about you?


MiaKatia said...

Wow, I have no where near you skill level with the cheesecake tasting. I am pretty much happy with any cheesecake as long as somebody else makes it and brings it to me... I have always wanted to order a Junior's Cheesecake from NY they send it in this specially made frozen box so that it is still good when it gets to you I am just too cheap.

Christie said...

I'm not much of a cheesecake fan honestly. Although I do LOVE the pumpkin cheesecake my SIL makes at Thanksgiving.

jennie w. said...

Ack! I need a drink of milk just looking at those pictures. Give me the fluffy kind with a super thick graham cracker crust!!!!

Mindi said...

i'm totally and utterly boring suburbanized--i've never experienced real, honest-to-goodness ny cheeze, so i'm happy with whatever anyone brings out and puts in front of me.

i like a little strawberry topping on top, but that's about it.

jennie w. said...

Oh yes, I only like cheesecake with lots of stuff: oreos, caramel, berries, whatever. Just not plain. Boooooring.

Koreena said...

I'll eat it almost any way. I just love cheesecake. :)

Tiburon said...

I will take my cheesecake any way I can get it. I am not picky. As evidenced by my ginormous ass.

Erica said...

Kathy's cheesecake sure was good!

CaraDee said...

I am also in love with NY style. And everyone LIES about it. It's always gluey. I was at Cheesecake Factory, and I asked about it, and I was very looked like it was it...It wasn't. And I was at Mimi's. Someone ordered it. It tasted like it, but the texture was off. I really want it firm. If I remember correctly, Market Street Grill has it right. It's been a long time though.

Chelsea said...

How awesome is that that you worked at a cheesecake bakery?! Did you get to eat free samples all the time? I actually prefer the graham cracker crust to the baked dough crust in a NY style. My mom's chocolate cheesecake is the best I have ever tasted - I'm drooling just thinking about it!

Omgirl said...

Chelsea, it was the best job ever created: I sat at at the counter in the mall foodcourt and ate cheesecake samples all day. No boss (it was just me), my stereo on loud, friends stopping by, and I got paid under the table. It ROCKED. And back then I had the metabolism to eat cheesecake samples all day with no backlash. See? Dream job.

KareBear said...

Hi Arianne.
I enjoy your blog. When I saw the cheesecake entry, I thought of Kathy's Cheesecakes before I even read it. I thought of my mom,and how she loved that cheesecake best.
I need to try some of those you found that are close to being that good.
BTW, I'll be in Utah for a little while in a few weeks. We should hang out and do something fun. I'll be taking care of my niece.
And I have idea's for summer Toys, seeing how I use to work at TRU. If you don't have one, get the Little Tikes Water-wheel. Water and sand together, they'll love it. If you actually go to Toys R Us, just look in the front seasonal section. You'll find something that will be perfect.

alex dumas said...

I am not at all picky about cheesecake. Or anything, for that matter. Pretty much just put it in front of me and I'll eat it.

Blast. Now I'm hungry.