This New $3.29 TJ's Find Is Flying Off the Shelves (and Into My Cart)

It reminds me of my favorite Filipino snack.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder</p>

Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder

Upon moving to the U.S. four years ago, merienda has become a vestige of my former life in the Philippines. Growing up in a typical Chinese-Filipino household, a merienda—or afternoon snack—comprises perfectly fried caramelized bananas from a street vendor, a cup of halo-halo as a reprieve from the summer heat or a piece of mamón from Red Ribbon Bakeshop.

If you ask me which of the above is my favorite, it would be mamón. This buttery chiffon cake, baked in a wide cupcake-like mold, has a fluffy texture and eggy richness that blooms in your mouth. I love eating it on its own, but sometimes I spread it with softened butter and then top it with shredded cheese for a yummier bite.

I haven’t had mamón since Red Ribbon is miles from where I live. So, imagine my surprise when I saw Trader Joe’s Japanese Soufflé Cheesecakes in their frozen aisle. While mamón and soufflé cheesecake are prepared differently, the photo on the pinkish-red packaging instantly transported me back to the days I ate mamón for merienda.

Why I Love Trader Joe’s Japanese Soufflé Cheesecakes

The cheesecake quite resembles mamón in form and shape, except it has a perky dome and browned top, as if it has added toastiness. One bite and I knew this cotton-soft sponge cake-meets-cheesecake was going to be my new merienda moving forward.

The cheesecake has an airy, melt-in-your-mouth texture reminiscent of a mamón. Since it’s made with egg whites and cream cheese, it has a more soufflé-like consistency. It’s soft and delicate, with nuanced sweetness and neutral cheesiness flavor, and less dense than American cheesecakes.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Trader Joe's</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Trader Joe's

How I Eat and Serve TJ's Soufflé Cheesecake

I usually let the frozen cheesecake thaw in the fridge for a few hours before eating it chilled. When I want to eat it right away, I warm it up in a toaster oven at 200°F for about 15 minutes, giving it a bit of a crust.

I like eating the cheesecake between lunch and dinner, paired with a cup of hot chamomile tea. Sometimes, I even dress it up by sifting some powdered sugar on top. Either way, this simple preparation gives me a small boost of energy and calms my anxiety during the day.

I also like how the cheesecake can also complement a heavy meal, such as pasta or steak, as dessert, to clear my mouth of strong flavors. I sometimes top it with whipped cream and berries, such as sliced strawberries. I have yet to try spreading it with fruit jam or drizzle it with caramel sauce, but I have no doubt they are equally tasty toppings.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.