Cheesecake, we have to talk.
After passing judgement that cheesecake is not a pie in yesterday's post, I have subsequently been emphatically told that cheesecake is a flan, been directed to a Wikipedia page which states that cheesecake is a tart and therefore also a flan, and perhaps most worrying of all, I have learned that there are European cheesecakes which are cooked in a pastry shell and that some are even baked so that there is a cherry or strawberry centre within the layer of the cheese substance called "quirk" and which already sits inside a pastry shell. I feel as if I've wandered into some sort of strange Mary Berry meets Xzibit land of cheesecakeception where a thing is inside a thing while being a thing.
I feel as though I've somehow disturbed and awoken the ancient forces of the bakery guardians and now they're going to exact their hateful pies of winters past upon me with squirrel and raisins, kidney and custard all at the same time.
I decided to confer with someone with eminently more expertise in the field and so I asked Mrs R who postulated that a cheesecake is probably a tart; which only confirms previous information on the subject.
By now I was really questioning the very fabric of the universe and so I took an excursion to the local library, wherein possibly the most authoritative reference in the world of comestibles, the Larrouse Gastronomique, also places cheesecakes in the classification of tarts. Intriguingly it also has a section on flans but in that section, cheesecakes are conspicuous by their absence.
What this says to me is that cheesecakes are most definitely tarts, sometimes flans but very probably not pies. What it also suggests is that there is considerable overlap between one thing and another, and that there might be some underlying spectrum of bakery upon which all of these things lie.
The fact that there are reference books on the subject says to me that there is already a great deal of academia here and the truth is that I already knew that. The deeper philosophical question is more of an ontological one, concerning the thingness of a thing and even though cheesecake is on the grand bakery spectrum, it isn't pieific enough to be called a pie.
On the subject of flans though, who do these bakery hoodlums think they are, anyway? Like pies, flans can be either savoury or sweet and they have the audacity to claim pastry cases in the frozen food section of the supermarket all to themselves. You don't find pie crusts in the freezer but flan cases. Somehow, flans managed to lobby the ancient forces of the bakery guardians into giving them the sole control of that real estate and I bet that the little knaves want to go on and claim ice cream cake in their malevolent empire.
My excursion to the supermarket today also opened my eyes to the territory war that cheesecake is fighting. Not being content with just vanilla, strawberry and banana, I found both apricot cheesecake and a weird hybrid Chocolate Bavarian Cheesecake. Cheesecake it seems, has weaponised and is moving onwards through the freezer. I shudder to think what a full mobilisation, aided and abetted by The Cheesecake Factory would look like. That right there is the bakery-industrial-complex in full action - a dairylea triangle, if you will.
I'm sorry cheesecake. I was happy when you were just your own thing but this simply has to stop. How long will it be before you claim slices, bars and other cakes in your diabetes inducing war of conquest. Just because you are not a pie, doesn't mean that you are not nice. You can stay as a tart or a flan (or both) but you have to accept that you can not be everything in the realm of bakery.