Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Cheese Cream Stick Pie (Yamazakipan brand)
Sometimes I get a craving for a cheese danish, then I remember I live in Tokyo and there are no real cheese danishes around. At other times, I get that craving and I forget that I live in Tokyo and what resembles a "cheese danish" is some sort of Frankensteinish hybrid between savory cheese bread and sweet cream cheese breakfast pastry. During the latter times, I end up buying something like the item pictured above. In my quest for a cheese danish, I missed one very important clue about this item. There is a wedge of what looks like Swiss cheese pictured on the package.
When I removed the "stick pie" from its package, the smell of baked Gouda on bread wafted up at me and expectations were immediately lowered. Sure, it may look like a golden flaky pastry filled with sweet cream cheese and topped with crumbly bakery goodness, but the crumb-like things on the top are grated cheese of some variety, not sweet bits of flour, fat and sugar.
The inside looks pretty encouraging with a reasonably generous piping of sweetened cream cheese. The first bite is rather tasty as you get a strong sense of the cream cheese flavor, but it is followed by the funky aftertaste of savory cheese. I wouldn't say it totally ruins the experience, but it does make it far less enjoyable.
Since I bought this in a plastic package at a convenience store for 99 yen ($1.07), it would be unfair to expect the pastry portion to be fresh and crispy, particularly since it had an expiration date 6 days from the date of purchase. The "pie" portion was a bit like a day-old croissant. It used to be crispy and flaky, but had absorbed moisture to the extent that it was pretty flat and lifeless. It tasted good though and had a good flavor, but I think I'd have to catch it very quickly after stocking to get a really nice texture out of the pie.
Yamazaki pan makes a lot of these types of items for convenience stores and it's generally a hit and miss proposition. Their cakes are usually good, but the pastries often let you down. This Franken-pastry (not Al Franken) was certainly a letdown and I won't be re-visiting it again if my memory of the experience holds up.