Thursday, July 25, 2013

San Francisco Cheesecake

Mmm, cheesecake.  Such a classic, decadent, dessert.  It can be very simple, or dressed up with all sorts of toppings, flavorings, or fillings.  But, at least for me, it is a dessert that can disappointing more often than not.

I have a really easy cheesecake recipe that I got from my mom that I've been using for years.  I won't claim it is the best cheesecake ever, but it is solid, and whenever I bring it to a party, I do get rave reviews.  I won't tell you much about it, except that uh, it uses yellow cake mix in both the crust and the filling.  And when the top cracks, you just hide it with a beautiful fruit topping.  If I can make a good cheesecake, why are there so many awful versions out there?

One great thing about cheesecake, besides that it is delicious, is that it can be easily frozen and taken out when you want to serve it.  Just like I always have a freezer full of ice cream, I've been known to always have a few slices of cheesecake alongside.  So I was overjoyed when I discovered San Francisco Cheesecake.  A small, local company, that makes a variety of cheesecakes, sold at retailers around town.  They show up at artisan's foodfests, always with trays of samples.  I see why, as a single bite of one of these cheesecakes leaves you wanting more!  But the best part, is that they are sold frozen.  Easy to stock up on and pull out for "emergencies", like, you know, it is Tuesday night and you don't have any other dessert laying around.  And, they are a small size, so it totally makes sense to defrost one just for yourself.  You don't have to share.

I've really enjoyed all of the cheesecakes I've tried.  They are all nicely creamy, with a good graham crumble crust.  I was just glancing at their web site and saw a few flavors I haven't had yet that I really want to find: greek yogurt with honey and banana cream! Mmm!

I highly recommend purchasing a few if you ever see them (if you are into cheese, head to Cheese Plus, get some great cheese, and then grab some cheesecake from the freezer near the register).  They totally blow away the other cheesecakes I've had lately (like the mediocre frozen ones from Shari's Berries, the insanely awful one from Soup Freaks that Ojan even spit out,  or the flavorless thing that only sorta resembled cheesecake from Jack In The Box).  I still have a fond place in my memory of the cheesecake from Little Star, but last time I was there, they were out, and I've been too heartbroken to return.
Assorted Cheesecake Samples.
  • Butterscotch: Hands down favorite.  My grandmother is known for her butterscotch pie, and this tasted sooo much like it, just in cheesecake form.  Creamy, amazing flavor.  I'm dreaming about this one!  The crust had some extra salt in it, which really complimented the butterscotch flavor well (just like salted caramel).  OMG, I want more of this now.
  • Candy Cap Mushroom: Yes, mushroom.  It was really tasty, the candy caps add a beautiful maple flavor to it.  In fact, if you didn't tell me, I would have guessed it was a maple cheesecake, and I come from the land of maple syrup!  I'm sure people are scared off by the concept of mushrooms in cheesecake, but this is good.  I had this one still slightly too frozen, so it wasn't as creamy as it could have been.
  • Mint Chocolate Chip: Decent mint flavor, with actual chocolate chips embedded in it, and a chocolate graham crust. It was light and refreshing, which is a funny thing to say about a cheesecake, I know, but it really was.  It would be a great ending to any meal, and an easy crowd-pleaser - who doesn't like mint and chocolate? I would have preferred even MORE mint flavor though.
  • Pumpkin: This was a seasonal offering, around Thanksgiving.  Not the most pumpkiny flavor, but nicely seasoned, and not bad.
  • Strawberry Swirl: Classic cheesecake with a really nice strawberry jam swirled in it.  The jam comes from Inna Jam, who I've run into at a variety of artisan's events around town.  Another one that reminded me of home, as my mom is known for her strawberry jam, and I rarely like other strawberry jams.
  • Vanilla Sour Cream: Pretty creamy, nice sourness from the sour cream, and good vanilla flavor.
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