The word Cheesecake lends itself to multiple interpretations in India.
One has to specify’ baked’ to get the real thing. Make no mistake, the New York Cheese cake is packed with calories; And if am not mistaken, a fairly large slice would translate to 600-700 calories of pure indulgence.. My readers are cautioned to stay clear of more than the occasional binge!
So let us deconstruct the famed cheese cake for a start..
Biscuit ( cracker) crumbs and butter for the base. Philadephia Cream Cheese or equivalent. I must admit I have made a decent one with good quality Khoa. Lemon glaze ( strictly optional) for the topping is best,couple of eggs, sugar and some baking. Keep it simple, or glaze it with whatever you want. This is roughly what goes into making a cheesecake.
But can everybody make a good cheesecake? NO.
The crumb or base needs to be just right as, if its too dense, it overpowers the delicate cheese cake. The crumb is only a base on which the cheesecake rests. The cheesecake in itself is light and creamy, with subtle hints of cream cheese and isn’t overly sweet. If it’s too sugary, the overpowering sweetness kills the taste. This is a delicate dessert.
The Classic Cheesecake with fresh Strawberries and Mint
You also get variants, most notable of which are blueberry, chocolate and sometimes strawberry. Of course the list can go on; Coffee, Hazelnut, Caramel and more..
In fact, the red velvet nowadays masquerades like a cheese cake, albeit with different ingredients.
But honestly the best is the regular or the Classic New York Cheese cake with all its creamy goodness.
Now for the best part; Where can you find the best cheesecake in good old Pune?
1. Forrente – pricey but well worth it.
2. Le Plaisir
3. Love Sugar Dough now called Pink Butter
5. Good ole ABC farms during their cheese festival in December
6. The Flour Works.
7. The Pune Baking Company ( JW Mariott)
8. The French Window
Purists don’t frown, but yes I confess to having had a really good one at McCafe in Madrid couple of years ago. It was gourmet all the way. One would not expect Mc Donald to dish out cheesecake, but wonders never cease do they?
Now the bane of all cheesecake lovers; The Mousse Cake which lazy patisseries pass off as cheesecake. This is one thing that irritates me no end. Don’t label this a cheese cake. This is a mousse cake. Sometimes even the best of places in town, palm off a mousse cake thats dense with gelatine and flavouring like Blueberry set on a crumb base. Sacrilege.
So what is the best accompaniment for this slice of heaven? A steaming hot capuccino is my ideal choice. Savour it, don’t gulp it down. Delicate flavours need to be enjoyed in a leisurely fashion.
Sound Advice : Skip dinner if you have had one for high tea. You have enjoyed all the calories you need.
Author’s Note : All the tastings mentioned above have been done over a period of time. I can’t vouch for the same quality today. The list is in random order of preference.
Pune365: The views expressed in this column are strictly the Author’s and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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