Baker puts cheesecake formulas into iTunes cookbook
by Joleen Oshiro, photo by DENNIS ODA
“Cheesecakes,” by Hector Wong ($8.99; available on iTunes; visit goo.gl/AUkAdP)
Baker Hector Wong, who has long dazzled Hawaii’s dessert lovers with his elaborate, delicious cakes, has finally documented some of his concoctions with the e-book publication of “Cheesecakes,” a baker’s dozen of recipes. Wong’s recipes are adaptations of those in Rose Levy Berenbaum’s “The Cake Bible” and feature products grown in Hawaii, such as mango, coconut, banana, vanilla and coffee.
The 13-recipe collection features several mango cheesecakes and others made with homemade local fruit jellies. It even includes a savory recipe using eggplant. The book goes over several types of cheesecake “bases,” or crusts: a basic cookie crust, crushed-nut crust and sponge cake crust.
Wong says cheesecake batter, referred to as “butter,” starts with cream cheese. His recipes combine cream cheese with either sour cream, heavy cream or Italian meringue.
He says sour cream butter produces a tangy, almost lemony flavor, while heavy cream works well with fruit flavors. Italian meringue is best for nonfruit cakes such as chocolate, coffee and red velvet.
In putting the cookbook together, Wong says he “suffered a lot.”
“It was frustrating,” he said. “I told myself, ‘I need a new computer. I need new software.’ I don’t know if it was fear or a lack of confidence, so finally I told myself, ‘Just do it, Hector.’ And the book just wrote itself.”
Wong says the collection is a work-in-progress that might require a bit of tinkering here and there — an easy thing to do, thanks to it being an e-book — but the doubt and worry are things of the past.
“I’m really happy with it,” he said.
HECTOR WONG TEACHES AT COOKSPACE
Classes to be held at CookSpace at Ward Warehouse; register at www.cookspacehawaii.com.
>> Cheesecake Perfection(1 to 3:00 p.m. Oct. 1, $50): Hector Wong shares his secrets for making the perfect cheesecake. This class will focus on technique and skills for making a basic cheesecake crust and batter. Learn Hector’s techniques for adding a special touch to a cheesecake like making beautiful mango roses and sauce. Put your skills to the test decorate your own tart sized cheesecake to bring home.
>> Cheesecake Perfection(1 to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 1, $50): Covers technique and skills for three basic crusts — cookie, crushed-nut and sponge cake — plus three types of batters — basic sour cream, fruit jams and a no-bake batter. Students will make their own tart-size cheesecake to bring home.
>> Spanish Flan (1 to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 15, $50): Wong shares his family’s treasured recipe for making a classic flan and the recipes he perfected for making flan brûlée, coconut flan and flan with fresh fruit. Wong is working on a flan cookbook and will share his insights on recipe testing and development.