Would you stand in line for this cheesecake?

cheesecake wp-image-2103 summary: store-bought cheese cake vs. homemade cheesecake; Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese storebought cheesecake, Ruth Reichl’s New York Style homemade cheesecake; (click on image(s) to see larger views and more photos.)

Early one morning, a couple of weeks ago, we were riding our bikes downtown and when we were close to the Greyhound bus station, we noticed a long line of people waiting.

Japanese cheesecake wp-image-2106 But they weren’t waiting for a bus! It turned out that they were waiting for cheesecake. And not just any cheesecake. It’s Japanese cheesecake.

That’s right; I said, “Japanese cheesecake”! Really….

We rode back to really look at the line and saw that it wasn’t that long. So we lined up. And more people came, snaking back behind us. And we stood. And stood. And shuffled forward. And stood. I was behind a tall man and kept leaning to one side to see past him to read the big sign at the doorway advertising madeleines and cheesecake (only one per customer). Inching forward, minute by minute until, ten minutes or so later, we were inside the shop watching the assembly line of people making cheesecake and madeleines and one of them taking orders. “I’d like 2 cheesecakes, please,” said the expensively dressed blonde woman. “No. Only one per customer.” “But…” “Only one. You can have some madeleines.”

We waited and waited inside the warm shop smelling wonderfully of baking. The man behind the counter continued to take orders. “No. Only one cheesecake per customer. Not much longer to wait now. They’re just coming out of the oven.”

I watched the flurry as they got boxes ready and then as the cakes appeared, each one was stamped and carefully lowered into the box.

Ask anyone who cooks and they’ll tell you the best food is always the freshest — fresh ingredients, freshly made.
But “fresh” is also the secret to Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake, which has just landed in the city.
“Make, sell, make, sell,” says Tetsushi Mizokami, 67, the entrepreneur behind Toronto’s latest obsession, which began in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1990. […]
It also helps explain the hordes who have been waiting outside Mizokami’s first North American location at 598 Bay St., often for more than two hours, for a six-inch cake ($8).
The cheesecakes — each is stamped with a cartoon rendering of Mizokami’s likeness — are indeed made fresh on site and in plain view. Staff place them gingerly, still warm, into whimsical red-and-white packages. […]
[They] make the cakes […] all day long.
One at a time. By hand. The recipe is secret, of course, but for the last step — before the waiting cheesecake pans are filled and placed in the oven — staff churn a sky’s worth of whipped egg whites into the batter — with their gloved hands. Not a utensil. […]
Like eating a sweet cloud, the cheesecake is custard-smooth with a touch of sponginess that almost disappears inside your cheeks. This cake is worth the wait.
– Michele Henry, Get in line for Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheescake, Toronto Star

We took the still warm cheesecake home, a little worried that it would get damaged in the panier of the bike. But it travelled very well. And it was surprisingly good. Really good. Light and fluffy and not too sweet. But was it as good as our own cheesecake? We weren’t sure.

A few days later, we decided to see which cheesecake was superior. We just happened to have some cream cheese in the fridge but no sourcream. We jumped on our bikes and in no time, with sour cream on hand, T made
Ruth Reichl’s cheesecake.

But this time, instead of really pressing the cracker crumb base into the bottom of the springform pan, T gently pushed it down. And look how beautifully some of it wrapped itself around the edges of the cake!

He also copied Uncle Tetsu’s idea of separating the eggs. At the last minute, he folded the whipped whites into the batter. The cake rose so high that he wasn’t sure if there would be room for the sour cream layer.

But he made it fit.

Japanese cheesecake wp-image-2105 And that evening, we had homemade cheese cake. Light yet rich. Not too sweet. Perfectly balanced.

Sublime cheesecake.


Yes. I’d stand in line for our cheesecake!

cheesecake wp-image-2104

And if we had no access to our kitchen, I’d stand in line again for Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake.

Uncle Tetsu's Shop (© uncle-tetsu.com) Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake has an elegant flavor of a unique soft and melting texture with reduced sweetness. Seek to use more natural ingredients, and bake each cake carefully. Plenty of high quality butter produced in Japan and cream cheese produced in Australia are used as ingredients for Japanese products. The special cheesecake is made with good ingredients and method by Uncle Tetsu. Having many repeat customers because of simple and always unchanged delicious cake is also a feature.
-excerpt from Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake! Official Site



This entry was posted in baking, cakes, pastries, cookies, etc., food & drink on by . cheese cake

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