A quest for the perfect cheesecake...
December 22, 2022 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Where in the Philadelphia area (broadly construed, I'm willing to travel up to 2 hours) can I buy a tall, fluffy cheesecake for my mom?

My mom has requested that I bring her a cheesecake when I visit next week. It's been a tough year so I really want to come through for her.

I live in a suburb of Philadelphia. 30-50 years ago, my mom used to regularly go to Philadelphia and get a cheesecake. She has not found the same cheesecake since.

Here is how she describes the cheesecake:

1) It is lighter/fluffier than regular cheesecake, but it is baked
2) It is less rich than regular cheesecake
3) It is not New York cheesecake, at least not the kind you typically get in restaurants/buy in the store
4) When she tried baking one herself, she noticed that it was kind of like a souffle in that it was very sensitive to the door being opened/loud noises/etc.
5) It is much taller than a regular cheesecake

Research and talking to others suggests this may be a ricotta cheesecake or a cheesecake lightened with whipped egg whites. When shown pictures, my mom said that one of those might be correct.

Do any of you know:

1) What kind of cheesecake this might be? (so I can have a search term to use)
2) Where I can buy such a cheesecake in the broader Philadelphia area?

Thank you for any thoughts!

Note: I tried Isgro and Termini and apparently they no longer make ricotta cheesecakes.
posted by eleanna to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you don't get any bites here you may want to try asking this question over on the Philadelphia Eats subreddit.
posted by Diskeater at 10:54 AM on December 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Did you try Tiffany's Bakery in the Fashion District? I've bought a few elaborate occasion cakes there and was pleased with the quality, but I wasn't searching for a cheesecake. It appears to be a pretty big bakery, and might be worth a call.

I thought about Carlino's in Ardmore, but it doesn't appear on their website that they have cheesecakes, but again, it might be worth a call. Depending on which suburb you are in you might be close enough to speak with them in person.

DiBruno Bros, the epitome of specialty Italian gourmet of superior quality is another possibility, but I think of them more for savory dishes - salami, prosciutto, olives, etc. Might offer a lead on where to get good cheesecakes, though.

There's always the wonderful Night Kitchen and Bredenbeck's, both on Germantown Ave in Chestnut Hill. They are small businesses and might actually have knowledgeable advice to offer on where to get the ricotta cheesecake of your mom's dreams if they don't make it themselves. Best of luck!
posted by citygirl at 11:09 AM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

I can't help with where to find it in the Philadelphia area, but it might be a Japanese cheesecake. They are half meringue and very light and delicate.

They are popular now but not sure if they were available in the timeframe you mention! But if you can't find the one true cheesecake, this could be an interesting substitute to try.
posted by esoterrica at 12:56 PM on December 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

It really sounds like a Japanese Cheesecake, which is a light jiggly soufflé style cheesecake. I’m sure if you google “Japanese Cheesecake Philadelphia” you’ll be able to find it locally, or you could always order one on GoldBelly.
posted by Champagne Supernova at 6:53 PM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

lol no one was eating Japanese cheesecake in the Philly area 30-50 years ago. Definitely was a ricotta cheesecake. I would just try bakeries in the Italian Market until you find one that’s still making them. South Philly in general, honestly.
posted by rhymedirective at 7:11 PM on December 22, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Claudio's in the Italian market has ricotta cheesecake pretty regularly, despite being a cheese shop and not a bakery. Inquirer mention of it calls it "baked ricotta di bufalo".
posted by sepviva at 8:02 PM on December 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

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