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.


Kelly said...

What kind of cheese did you expect to be in there?

I've never heard of a cheese danish before. We only have apricot or apple and custard.

Orchid64 said...

Typical cheese danish contains sweetened cream cheese. It generally doesn't include "savory" cheese like Gouda, cheddar, etc.

The danish is a relative of cheesecake, which also does not include savory cheeses, though I have had disgusting mishmashes of savory and sweet cheeses in cheesecake in Japan before.

Orchid64 said...

As an aside, I think that cream cheese danishes may be either a variant on certain French pastries or possibly on blintzes (a Jewish pastry). They are very common in the U.S., particularly in the Northeastern areas.

There are tons of recipes for them on the web if you want to see what they're usually like (as opposed to the Japanese version which is kind of a freaky hybrid of cheese bread and cheese danish).