Monday, January 15, 2007

The Perfect Cheesecake

After several inquiries from my loyal readers (that basically means, you, Ana) , I decided it was high time to get back into the swing of things.

No, my prolonged absence does not mean I haven't been eating. It just means I haven't had much of a chance to blog about it, that's all.

Getting to with the matter at hand - Cheesecake has always been a preoccupation of mine. Much in the same way Iced Tea is. There a hundred ways of making cheesecake, probably ninety of them bad. The sins in cheesecake making include using the so-called "no-bake" shortcuts to topping cheesecakes with blueberries or whatnot to mask its true flavor.

Possibly the best cheesecake I ever had in this country was several years ago, when a friend of ours made us one from scratch which we ate fresh from the oven. It had no gelatin whatsoever and had creaminess and that luxurious sour-but-rich "cream-cheesiness" fairly bursting out of every bite. I've been looking for something to equal that experience ever since, with (very) mixed results.

Fast forward to today. The never-ending search continues. It was for that reason (plus the fact that Cupcakes by Sonja at Serendra was jam-packed) that we decided to try out its next-door neighbor, Miss Desserts. Like many of the establishments in Serendra, it was relatively small by mall standards with seating for perhaps a dozen people inside. Prominently taped to their glass exterior wall was Gene Gonzalez' article featuring his great cheesecake showdown, wherein Miss Desserts' offering earned itself top marks.

Oho! Sige nga! The proof of the pudding is in the eating; and that goes double for cheesecakes.

We ordered a personal-sized New York Style cheesecake (I agree with Gene Gonzalez 100% on his stand that this is the gold-standard for cheesecakes. Everything else is just fluff) and, almost as an afterthought, a personal-sized Sugar-Free Banana Cream Pie as well.

Right of the bat, I will admit it - the cheesecake was dense, it was creamy and the crust was as good as it gets. Despite its small dimensions, it is supremely satisfying (although a slightly bigger helping wouldn't have hurt at all). It had that creamy, luxurious taste and feel that I was looking for and I would have liked to imagine how it would have tasted having come straight from the oven. Easily one of the best I've ever tried.

If I had to nitpick, and I guess I have to, I would say that I would have traded a bit of sweetness for more of that "cream-cheesiness" I was talking about. It would have been perfect in my book just a bit more of that tangy-sourness. Still, I was nitpicking and I have to admit, it beats most other cheesecakes hands down.

Oh, I'm sorry. Did you want to hear about the Sugar-Free Banana Cream Pie? Darn. I was going to make that my little secret. One word I could use to describe it is FRESH. The cream was fresh, the crust was fresh, the bananas tasted like they sliced it just as I entered the store. Unlike other sugar free desserts, you didn't get the idea that they were trying to overcompensate by using a lot of Splenda or what-have-you. What you got was a nice, fresh pie with a rich flavor unburdened by the cloying sweetness that we often get these days.

We gave these two desserts an enthusiastic thumbs up! Although we're not often in the neighborhood, I'm certain it won't be long before we come back to try out more of Miss Dessert's other sweet offerings!