The fascination with Japanese-French pastry continues to bubble in Singapore with Bake opening at Ion Orchard on Apr 29, following the success of Asanoya and Pantler. Its specialty, molten cheese tarts, have a buttery crust with the same crunch and richness of a French sable cookie, while the light, fluffy mousse is distinctly Japanese – a blend of cheeses from Hokkaido, Hakodate and France.
It was a fluke discovery that led to the success of these freshly baked cheese tarts. Founder Shintaro Naganuma used to favour the chilled blueberry version sold at his dad’s Hokkaido-based bakery Kinotoya. The family has been in the baking business for 30 years, specialising in European cakes and cookies. But during pop-up event in Singapore five years ago, it was the warm, undecorated cheese tarts (the team was pressed for time to serve the tarts then) that drew the crowd. Naganuma set up Bake’s first shop in Tokyo as a separate venture from Kinotoya.
Three types of cream cheese go into one tart – a milky Hokkaido Bekkai cheese that gives a creamy texture, a salty French cheese for that lingering hit of savouriness, and a mild Hakodate cheese to balance it all out. These are blended to create a light, fluffy mousse.
The cheesy centre is hugged by a buttery cookie crust, which is first baked in Japan then shipped to Singapore where it is baked a second time just before it’s served. The crunchy cookie base is loved by many, and Bake is countering Singapore’s infamous humidity (a baker’s nightmare where tart crusts stubbornly refuse to firm up) by tweaking the baking time and adjusting the thickness of the crust before it is shipped here, so it will hold up better.
Why you should try it (eventually):
Considering one cheese tart costs $3.50 a pop and disappears in three bites (two would easily finish this off, but we wanted to savour it), it was worth each embarrassing (read: loud) crunch. The sweet, crumbly crust is bound together by a luscious soft cheesy centre if you have it while it’s still warm. Left to room temperature, these take on the texture of a dense cheesecake accompanied by a solid biscuit base. Pleasant, but we prefer the former.
#B4-33, ION Orchard