Tuesday, September 11, 2018

So-Called Hungarian Cheesecake

For the last 10 years I've been pilgrimaging to the otherwise moribund Long Island hamlet of Floral Park for a unique kind of cheesecake found only in one obscure bakery: The Tulip Bake Shop (138 Tulip Ave, Floral Park, NY; 516-354-1105).

It's much flatter than normal cheesecake, quite lemony and the texture is more cakey than custardy. Lots of crunchy/cinnamony crust presence. It's simply better. And addictive!

I work slowly (by comparison, Robert Caro's like a tabloid hack) sometimes, so it took me a full decade to eke out the information that this is called "Hungarian cheesecake". It makes sense, as I occasionally spot strudel or Austro-Hungarian cheese puffs here, along with the usual mainstream offerings.

But we seem to be very advanced in this particular telephone game. I'm guessing it's been a long while since actual Hungarians walked these halls, so the recipes have been passed forward a few times. But while other offerings are good-not-great, the cheesecake remains devastating.

So now I need to find out: is "Hungarian cheesecake" even a thing?

It could be the capricious term the founder came up with for his own unique invention. You need to be very careful with this stuff. When I was working on my Eat Everywhere app, and, for the first time, was forced to do a rigorous accounting of all my empirical food knowledge, I discovered, to my horror, that a number of dishes I'd attributed - for years! - to a certain cuisine were just one-offs concocted by one single restaurateur. I'd fallen in love with these dishes, attributed them to the advertised cuisine, and lived in falsehood for years thereafter.

See an update here

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