‘We want people to be excited about what we do, and to feel as though they are coming into our home,’ says self-declared rebel baker David Muniz, who runs Outsider Tart in Chiswick with his partner David Lesniak. The pair’s strong visual style, unmistakably personal, mixes their common love of outsider art – that’s not just any old pun, you know – with David L’s background in architecture. The shop is unlike any bakers we’ve ever seen, with its art oddities, black walls, rainbow Corian counter and New Jersey circus illumination.
Once we’ve had a good ogle of the imported goodies on the shelves (expat heaven), we follow David downstairs, where we discover a whole team of young bakers, working on the mint Baileys brownies, apple and bourbon pop tarts, billionaire’s shortbread and baked cheesecake that, David says, are the product of his non-technical, self-taught, trial-and-error approach. We’re here to see him produce a simple praline cheesecake from scratch, and pick up a few tips on how to get it right. ‘The Italians did it first, with ricotta,’ says David. ‘This uses cream cheese, which is good and solid; we mix it with silky, slightly acidic sour cream.’ It’s a downright classic, and surprisingly easy to prepare.
Jiggle it: David’s baked cheesecake tips
- Make sure the fats are light and fluffy before you add the eggs.
- Don’t freak out about any cracks that appear during baking. All being well, they will seal back up.
- The cheesecake is done when the jiggle is right. It should jiggle as one piece, not be sloshing beneath the surface.
- If you like, you can add whole pecan halves to the topping mixture before you pour it. You may need to nudge the nuts a little to get them into place.