Cheesecake at Piccolo Sogno
Cheesecake, like any timeworn classic, can be an intimidating thing to tackle. Everyone has expectations for something as familiar as cheesecake, just as they do with chocolate chip cookies, banana splits, apple pie, and any other iconic dessert to transcend time and place. There are only a few key components involved in making a cheesecake, so it's pivotal that each element is of the utmost, and prepared with great care. One fine example of cheesecake done perfectly is the ricotta version at Piccolo Sogno. An apt finale for a meal of pasta, pizza, and other Italian specialties at this West Town keystone, the ricotta cheesecake is what all cheesecake aspire to be.
The major flaw many cheesecakes succumb to is in the density. Too heavy-handed with the cream cheese (or cream cheese equivalent, like ricotta or mascarpone), and you're well on your way to manufacturing a cheesecake so dense it could anchor a boat. It's important to balance the cheese portion by whipping it with just enough sugar to sweeten without overwhelming. At Piccolo Sogno, a light and fluffy ricotta base gets just a dose of sweetness, leaving the fine cheese to stand on its own. It's almost like having a cheese plate for dessert, albeit in cake shape. The edges and exterior get nice and toasty, garnering a caramel-brown hue and a slight crackle. What makes this dessert especially fitting for summer is the fruity supplement served alongside, a luscious medley of berries enrobed in tart berry sauce. Mix and match the fruit with each bite of cheesecake to enliven the dessert even further, with the ricotta acting as a canvas for layering flavors.
This is what cheesecake is all about.
- Matt Kirouac