[Sca-cooks] OT/OOP: and in honor of the mid-Pennsic "sillyseason"...
Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius1 at verizon.net
Thu Aug 9 05:04:07 PDT 2007
On Aug 9, 2007, at 12:36 AM, S CLEMENGER wrote:
> So, uhm, being from many 1000s of miles to the left of Manhattan,
> and thus unable to experience the true and deep pleasures of
> knowing, intimately and instantly, what constitutes a True New Yawk
> Jewish-American Cheesecake T, what should it contain? How high
> should it be? Crust, or no crust?
> Displaced Yankee-Westerners are jonesing to know....
> --Maire, who's really come to abhor most cheesecakes, because
> they're always way to freaking sweet, and too, well, soft (unbaked?
Please understand that this is a matter of adherence to a known
style, as when the characteristics of an ale can make it an
excellent, say, single porter but a lousy double stout, because it is
not what it should be when it advertises itself as a stout.
So, the style is, it's baked in a springform pan, generally to a
depth of 3 to as much as 5 inches, straight vertical sides (in short,
it's not a pie!). The filling is made primarily with cream cheese,
whole eggs, egg yolks, sweet or sour cream, sugar, vanilla
(generally) and grated citrus peel, often a combination of lemon and
orange. It is not frozen or set with gelatin. It is baked, and like a
pumpkin pie or any of several custards, it is baked, the eggs set and
the result is tender but firm, somewhat dense (this stuff is
filling), softer than chilled cream cheese but not quivery like a
custard. Sweetness is as sweet as you want it to be, but between the
tang of the cheese and the citrus, you do want some sugar in it, and
then it will behave differently as to texture without the sugar,
also. But I agree, commercial versions are often too sweet. Gooey
fruit toppings (somewhere in between fruit set in an appropriately
flavored gelatin and commercial, starch-thickened pie filling) are
extremely common, but technically, Officially Frowned Upon. In fact,
when Lindy's was promoting itself as The One True Cheesecake, the
Reuben's faction and others complained of Lindy's obvious heresy in
the use of pre-applied fruit toppings. This may be true, but I never
had any trouble getting plain cheesecake at Lindy's.
The crust (yes, there is one, ordinarily) is any of several pastry
types, generally a sweet tart dough of some kind, most commonly some
variation on the family of German tart doughs known as murbteig.
Flour, butter, sugar, an egg yolk or two, and more grated citrus
peel. It would probably roll out and bake into a quite acceptable
Graham cracker crusts or the similar ones commercial bakeries used to
make from stale cake crumbs, are generally regarded as being for
people who can't handle real life, and no-bake cheesecakes are just
cheese-flavored Jello. You might make one at home, but it's not
really something to boast of ;-).
Now, my point in complaining about the clearly inauthentic nature of
the prop cheesecake in "Guys and Dolls" was not so much a claim that
there was anything wrong with it, qua cheesecake, but simply that
Mindy's (or Lindy's) would never have served a cheesecake of this type.
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