There's cheesecake, and then there's Japanese cheesecake, which is the centerpiece at TinTin Cheesecake, a pop-up startup based in Plano that specializes in this decadent, not too sweet dessert.
Also known as soufflé-style cheesecake, cotton cheesecake, or light cheesecake, Japanese cheesecake is lighter in texture and not as sweet as traditional cheesecake. When 20-something husband-and-wife Tim and Donganh Le couldn't find one they liked around Dallas, they began making it themselves.
"My wife spent eight years in Japan and developed a passion for it," Tim says. "We said, Why don't we try to make it?"
Thus began an at-home journey in which they made literally hundreds of cheesecakes, trying to fine-tune their recipe.
"We're not professional bakers," Tim says. "I work in real estate and she works in the tourism industry. So I wouldn't say we were natural bakers. But we just did trial-and-error. There were a lot of failed cakes, we trashed at least 50 along the way, until we perfected the recipe."
Japanese cheesecake has only been a thing in Japan for a few decades, debuting widely in the early '70s at a chain called Rikuro Ojisan.
Tim says the perfect specimen is as much a souffle as it is a cake.
"It's lighter than regular or New York-style cheesecake, not too thick, not too sweet," he says. "American cheesecake can be too sweet, but in Asian baking, you don't use a lot of sugar. This allows you to still taste the creaminess of the cream cheese."
There's also something slightly spongey, something appealingly custardy, to the texture which adds to its decadent profile.
When they first founded TinTin in 2020, it was out of their house, until they discovered that, unlike other home baking/cottage industries, cheesecake is not allowed.
"We were notified by the health department that cheesecake cannot be made at home," he says. "It ultimately turned out to be a good thing. Beyond guaranteeing that we were making it correctly, moving to a commercial kitchen meant we were able to make it in larger quantities than our home convection oven."
They're considering possibly opening a brick-and-mortar location down the road but for now they're busy doing a once-a-month pop-ups, and there's one happening this weekend, on Saturday June 25, with a menu that includes:
- Regular cheesecake: $23
- Matcha cheesecake: $27
- Nama chocolate : $17
- Nama Matcha: $18
- Strawberry milk: $6
Nama chocolate is like a truffle, popularized by a company named Royce. It's made from chocolate and cream, cut into squares, and sprinkled with cocoa or matcha powder.
You place your order online, and then pick up at one of two locations:
- Perfect Temper Kitchen, 6900 Alma Dr #140, in Plano, at 11 am
- CVS, at 750 E Farm to Market Rd 544, Murphy, at 12:30 pm