When chef/owner Tim Ma opened Kyirisan five months ago in Shaw (1924 Eighth St., NW; 202-525-2383), he didn’t have a pastry chef on the team. So he challenged his brigade of cooks to help him rustle up some dessert recipes. Sous chef Anthony Escano’s contribution—a custard cheesecake—turned out to be a slam-dunk.
The satiny, slightly sweet confection is the result of a painstakingly built custard batter of milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. The substantial tanginess comes from “a whole lot of cream cheese,” plus some crème fraîche, Ma says.
The square cakes don’t have a crust but get a hint of crunch from their trio of Nutella-inspired garnishes, all made from hazelnuts—a creamy ganache; a rich, whipped nut butter; and a soil-textured crumble.
The confection has become so popular with diners that Ma has no plans to take it off the menu. And it’s a hit with staff, too. Says Ma: “Let’s just say some of us eat it for breakfast every morning.”
This article appears in our July 2016 issue of Washingtonian.