These desserts, save for one, are glazed in gold, burnished as they are in shades of the sun, glinting, gleaming. Two are custards, and one is a pie, a pie eaten out of hand.
The first is quite the stunner, its shape, familiar: a leche flan. No? Not just, but also a cheesecake, a Leche Flan Cheesecake. “Mmm, how can this be?” I murmur as I place forkful after forkful into my mouth. The flan is slick and smooth, its surface shines, and its flavor, slightly sweet. It’s carried by a Japanese-style cheesecake with its combination of beaten whites and yolks for its cotton-soft, almost porous texture. My mind rejects the concept initially but my mouth just keeps on eating.
Unbelievable to think that this luminous creation, sheer spark of genius, came about because of overweening imitation. Its creator, Margie Tan, tells me that her Custard Cake was the progenitor of her Leche Flan Cheesecake. “It was our best seller at all the bazaars we joined but there was a fellow concessionaire who saw [it] and copied everything from the packaging to the price,” she recounts. “It challenged us to innovate and thus the Leche Flan Cheesecake was born. We experimented with different cheesecakes and we realized that having a light cheesecake was the perfect match for our super rich leche flan.”
Margie and her brother run Symphony of Flavors, a baking business that’s just a few years old. I’m sure you’ve seen them at bazaars of which they are regulars. They have a penchant for fusing old recipes with the new, thus the spark of inspiration in their Leche Flan Cheesecake, and my favorite of all their products, the Bread Pudding.
Bread pudding (also cover photo) is my dad’s favorite dessert so I’m always on the lookout for excellent versions of it. I make a mean bread pudding and so does Margie. Hers is the old-fashioned, love-it-to-the-last-lick type where the bread is soaked for so long that it itself becomes the pudding. Bound with just enough yolk and sugar, this bread pudding in particular, presents lush texture – soft with bite – and is laced with a burnt-sugar glaze. My dad likes this very much.
And, being the insatiable pie lover that I am, I highly recommend those made by Symphony of Flavors. Cradled in a short crust that crumbles irresistibly, each shape defines its filling. I like the rustic character of the Chicken Empanada, white meat and color contrasts of carrots and raisins. The Tuna Empanada can be good too when it’s not salty as it is on occasion. Some say that the empanada crust is too thick, but it suits me just fine, as does its size which is perfect for a light snack: an empanada in one hand, and a drink in the other.
Symphony of Flavors Bakeshop
(0922) 851 8880
(02) 343 1488