Monday, May 5, 2008
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:
NOT NY STYLE
NOT NY STYLE
NY STYLE (Although the one in the background is not NY style)
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?