Cheese cake

Where It All Started: The History of Cheesecake

Many people would agree that the best birthday cake is
the cheesecake. There are others who cannot imagine a
world where cheesecake is not created. Nothing
compares to having a delicious dairy treat every once
in a while – almost everyone loves a slice of
cheesecake.

Cheesecake and the Ancient Greek

Many believe that cheesecake originated as a New York
City delicacy somewhere around the 20th century.
Surprisingly, Ancient Greeks have been creating
cheesecake for thousands of years before any American
even tried to put their hands – and mouth- on the
delicious indulgence. There are several publications
indicating that cheesecakes were first created during
the seventh and eighth centuries B.C. right on the
island of Samos in Greece.

Back then, the Greeks created cheesecakes by
combining, wheat flour, honey and cheese that had been
pounded to a paste-like and smooth consistency. The
mixture was then formed into cakes, baked and then
cooled before handed out. During the first Olympic
Games that happened in Greece in 776 B.C., the
athletes ate cheesecake, which provided them with the
energy they needed for several rigorous competitions.

Cheesecake became a popular Greek delicacy and was
even the ancestor of Western culture’s wedding cake
tradition. It also became a custom for a Greek bride
to bake and serve cheesecakes to her new husband’s
friends as a gesture of hospitality. This concept in
marriages eventually paved the way for wedding cakes.

During the time when the Romans occupied Greece,
cheesecake recipes were one of their rewards of war.
They quickly adapted the delightful taste of the
cheesecake and being a powerful empire that they were,
the Romans went on to conquer and occupy much of
Europe and Great Britain. During their conquests, the
Romans introduced the concept of cheesecake to various
lands, which came under their influence. It was only a
matter of time before European migrants carried with
them their treasured cheesecake recipes to the land of
the brave and the free, the America.

Today’s Cheesecake

Although the original cheesecake recipe came from
Greece, it quickly adapted several culinary styles and
variations during its journey to other territories.
The basic ingredients, namely the cheese, flour and
sweetener, are still present but the contemporary
cheesecake bear little resemblance to the cheesecake
of Ancient Greece.

During the late 19th century, New York dairy farmers
invented cream cheese, which quickly became the
popular type of cheese used for cheesecakes. The flour
used for the crust was substituted with cookie crumbs
and graham cracker crumbs, which made the cheesecakes
from the United States popular. Ancient cheesecake
recipes also use honey as sweetener, but it was
eventually replaced by the more common granulated cane
sugar. In addition, the standard cheesecake today also
includes fillings, such as: milk or cream, flavorings,
butter and eggs.

Even the method of baking has evolved. Back then, all
the ingredients were mixed together all at once but
modern cheesecakes are made with layering the
ingredients; first the crust is made, and then the
filling and lastly, the toppings, if available, are
added. The toppings also have unlimited variety, which
include spices, chocolate, nuts, fruits, and whipped
cream, among other choices.

But even though the ingredients and the process of
baking have evolved, everyone still owes the divine
treat to the Greeks. Cheesecake has lived for years
and still continues to prosper – it is an ancient
delight that will never go out of style no matter how
old it is.

What You Need To Know About Cheesecakes

Cheesecakes are delightful sweet or savoury treats
that are made with soft and fresh cheeses. They can
also be integrated with other several ingredients,
including sugar, eggs and cream. Cheesecake flavorings
are also possible and normally include chocolate or
rum and fruit toppings, like berries.

Nowadays, there are several variations of cheesecakes.
There are those that are designed for dieters and some
for vegetarians. But no matter what kind of cheesecake
is created, they still follow the basic guideline and
usually have the common challenges in cooking.

The Challenges of Making Cheesecakes

In the United States, modern cheesecakes use cream
cheese, while ricotta cheese for Italian cheesecakes
and quark cheese for German cheesecakes. The kind of
cheese used for the cheesecake not only affects the
taste and texture of the pie but also the capability
to incorporate other certain types of ingredients.
Additionally, thinly made cheesecake batter will not
be structurally sound but can also tend to fall apart
at the table. However, one method of avoiding this is
through the use of unflavored gelatin or cornstarch
beaten with eggs.

The most common challenge in cooking cheesecakes is
their tendency to develop cracks after being cooled.
This is because of the coagulation of the beaten eggs
in the cheesecake batter. There are several methods
that can avoid this phenomenon. One is to bake the
cheesecake in a water-bath or bain-marie in order to
ensure even heating. Other methods also include baking
the cheesecake at lower temperatures and cooling it
slowly in the oven or blending a small amount of
cornstarch in the batter to avoid the coagulation of
eggs.

Another problem with cheesecakes is the biscuit base;
it can become too soft. To achieve an extra crunch in
the base, you can try replacing a quarter of the
crushed biscuits with grape nuts.

Preparing the Cheesecake

It is important to remember to avoid purchasing light
or low-fat cream cheese unless the recipe needs it
since they can only create optimal results in
cheesecakes. Cheesecake can be wrapped in plastic and
refrigerated for up to a week. Plain cheesecake,
tightly wrapped with plastic then foil in a
spring-form pan, can be frozen for three months.
Defrosting the cheesecake can be done inside the
refrigerator for eight to twelve hours. More so, it is
necessary to allow the cheesecake to return at room
temperature before serving.

In preparing the cheesecake, most cheesecake recipes
call for two procedures, such as: create the base
first then bake and adding all the cheese fillings and
bake again. The trick in creating baked cheesecakes is
not to overcook them. Cheesecakes are best created in
a spring-form pan. By using such pans, cheesecakes can
be easily removed after the baking process.

To achieve a smooth filling, ensure that the cream
cheese and egg are stored at room temperature. Also,
do not over-beat the mixture because this can only
cause cracks at the top of the cheesecake.
Additionally, tap the side of the pan in order to
release air bubbles that could cause cracks or bumps
in the top of the cake before baking.

If you have toppings for the cheesecake, remember to
add them after the cheesecake has cooled, no more than
two hours before serving time. If there are still
cracks, after all the efforts you placed into it, you
can add toppings that can hide the cracks, such as:
berries and chocolates.

The Cheesecake Factory, Inc.: Revolutionizing Cheesecake Dining

The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. is probably the most
renowned cheesecake restaurants in America and even
the world. The company is located in the United States
and currently operates 139 full service and casual
dining restaurants in major metropolitan areas in the
United States. The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. is also
characterized by their extensive menus, large options
and lavish decors.

The Cheesecake Factory offers a casual dining
experience, complete with lavish decorative floors,
limestone floors, hand-painted fabrics, cherry wood
trimming and contemporary lighting. Their menu
contains 200 selections of food and 50 different
cheesecakes and desserts, which includes their
trademark Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake and White
Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake.

Humble Beginnings

The early beginnings of the Cheesecake Factory started
with Oscar and Evelyn Overton. They dreamed of opening
their very own business where Evelyn, always known as
a skilled cook, created cheesecake recipes liked by
her friends. During the late 1940’s, Evelyn decided to
open a small cheesecake shop in Detroit. However, in
order to raiser her to two children properly, she
chose to extinguish her dreams and gave up the shop.
She then moved her baking to the kitchen in her
basement and continued to supply cakes to a number of
local restaurants.

During the year 1971, with their children all grown
up, the couple decided to move their cheesecake
business to Los Angeles. Carrying only what is left
from their savings, they managed to open a 700 square
foot store and called it the Cheesecake Factory. The
early years were extremely lean and very difficult.
The couple even worked at 18-hour shifts. Oscar
concentrated on selling the cakes and establishing new
accounts while Evelyn managed the office and baked the
cheesecakes.

Luckily, the people of Los Angeles liked their
cheesecakes, which made the reputation of their
restaurant grow. In 1975, they have improved their
bakery and Evelyn created over twenty assortments of
delectable cheesecakes and other desserts. Oscar
started purchasing delivery trucks, expanding their
cheesecake distribution, hiring drivers and developing
additional out-of-state customers.

The tireless effort of the couples to provide
innovative and quality product development eventually
gave way to the foundation of the Cheesecake Factory’s
success. In 1978, their son David then founded the
Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Beverly Hills, which
was a milestone for the company and made them even
more famous.

Expansion and Successes

Owners of the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las
Vegas asked David Overton to establish a casual and
upscale restaurant for the hotel. In order to do this,
David traveled to Europe in order to study the
architecture, cuisine, design and décor of traditional
Italian trattorias, pastry shops and grand cafes of
Vienna. David eventually created the Grand Lux Café,
which is known to merge the luxuriant European cafes
with the sensibilities of an all-American restaurant.

The establishment offers cuisine from cultures, like
Malaysian, Caribbean, Thai, aside from European style
food. More so, it is located in several locations,
including Houston, Long Island, Paramus, Florida, New
Jersey, Miami, Chicago and Denver, among others.

The main emphasis of the Grand Lux is the bakery on
the premises, which offers baked-to-order cheesecakes
and other desserts. However, they also offer baked
food products at counters for take-out. Currently, the
company operates thirteen restaurants in several
locations.

The Cheesecake Factory also offers online services.
Within this venture, the company offers cheesecakes
that will be delivered to customers in dry ice. Truly,
no company has ever achieved cheesecake revolution
than the Cheesecake Factory, Inc.

Savoury Cheesecakes – « Sweetless » Delights

Like all things in this world, culinary styles also
evolve. Cheesecakes from the history books were all
made up of the three main ingredients: cheese, flour
and sweetener. These decadent treats were somehow made
to provide a soothing balance in every meal – a sweet
balance that is. However, nowadays, people are
searching for ways to modify the conventional
cheesecake; from the usual after meal dessert to
possibly the main course.

Although the quest for cheesecakes as the main event
during meals is still going on, fortunately enough,
cheesecakes are now developing new methods of
presentation and taste.

Fresh Cheeses

First of all, savoury cheesecakes differ from sweet
ones in several aspects: the ingredients and the meal
course. Although savoury cheesecakes can also be eaten
as desserts, they are more popularly consumed as the
hors d’oeuvres, most commonly known as appetizers.

There are several cheeses that are versatile enough to
be used for either savoury or sweet cheesecakes. The
Italian ricotta cheese is one kind of cheese perfect
for savoury cheesecakes. Ricotta cheese is the
byproduct of Romano cheese. In addition, ricotta
cheeses can be made from cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s
milk. This kind of cheese is now made from skim milk
instead of whey.

Fresh cheeses can be used in making savoury
cheesecakes. When picking the correct fresh cheese,
you should remember that it should have a delicate,
milky, light, floral perfume and a moist texture.
Fresh cheeses are sometimes referred to as fresh curd
cheese and have high moisture content and can be
achieved from any milk. However, fresh cheeses have a
short shelf life and in order to ensure that you only
get quality fresh cheeses, always make sure to avoid
any with a rancid, musty or sour aroma and a tacky or
dull surface.

Savoury Cheesecakes with Fillings

Since most savoury cheesecakes are served as
appetizers, it is only appropriate to serve them bite
sized. An excellent example of such cheesecakes is the
Savoury Cheesecake Bites. This kind of dish has two
different fillings that can provide a wide variety of
colors and taste: the smoked salmon, and the peppy
pizza fillings.

For the ingredients, you will need three-fourth cup of
dry bread crumbs, one package softened cream cheese,
three tablespoons melted butter, two pieces of eggs,
one and one-half teaspoon of all-purpose flour, one
cup sour cream, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

The peppy pizza filling include two tablespoons of
tomato sauce, one tablespoon of grated Parmesan
cheese, one-fourth teaspoon of dried oregano, one-half
teaspoon dried basil, quarter of finely diced red
pepper, and slivered red pepper. The Tex-Mex filling,
on the other hand, include one tablespoon lime juice,
one tablespoon chopped coriander, one-fourth teaspoon
ground ginger and cumin and one-half teaspoon chili
powder.

Firstly, get five miniature tart tins and spray
nonstick cooking spray on them generously. In a
separate bowl, combine the butter and the bread crumbs
until they are moistened. Press one teaspoon of the
mixture in each tart tin and bake in an oven for eight
minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat the cream
cheese and eggs, one at a time in another bowl. Add in
the salt, pepper and flour and include the sour cream.
When done, divide the batter in two bowls.

You can prepare the fillings by combining each
ingredient in separate bowls. Spoon one tablespoon of
the filling over each tart base and bake for twenty to
twenty-five minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Helpful Tips and Techniques in Baking Cheesecakes

Mastering the art of baking cheesecakes is an arduous
task. It is hard for anyone to perfect the method of
cooking a wide variety of cheesecakes just by
following simple recipes. However, there are several
pointers that can help in baking cheesecakes like a
pro.

The Texture

The distinct texture of the cheesecake mainly relies
on the cheese blended with sugar and eggs. However, it
is the type of cheese that informs the character of
the cheesecake. For instance, the New York style
cheesecake is dense since it is made with cream
cheese; the Italian is lither because of ricotta.

There are also other cheeses that can be used to
achieve different texture. One is the Neufchatel,
popularly used in French cheesecakes. Also, cottage
cheese, and fresh cheeses like the mascarpone, goat’s
cheese, and fromage blanc can be used.

The Mixing and the Cracking

Unlike other kinds of cakes, where the key is beating
air into the batter, cheesecakes suffer if over-mixed.
In order to achieve wonderful results, it is advisable
to have all the ingredients stored at room temperature
before mixing.

Cracking is probably the most common problem in baking
cheesecakes. Since cheesecakes, like custards, depend
profoundly on the setting of the eggs, they must be
cooked slowly and gently. If the eggs puff, get grainy
or overcook, and constrict when cooled, the resulting
cheesecake will have an undesirable split on the
smooth surface.

The main trick in avoiding cracks in cheesecakes is
the coaxing and gentle heat. Cooking cheesecakes
slowly also means cooling them gradually. The quick
change in temperature upset the structure of the
cheesecake, which often causes the cracks. Moister and
creamier cheesecakes are achieved when the heat is
turned off while the center is still loose and allowed
to cool inside the oven.

Several cheesecakes, especially the classic ones, are
usually baked in water bath, which is a pan of water.
This is done in order to moderate the temperature.
Because the water remains at a constant temperature,
the cheesecake sets slowly, thus resulting in a creamy
cheesecake.

On the other hand, cheesecakes that are rich in
flavors can achieve the same results as the classic
cheesecakes by baking slowly at low temperatures. In
order to prevent the cheesecake from developing cracks
during the cooling process, you can run a thin knife
around the edge of the cheesecake. It is important to
ensure that you perform this as soon as the cheesecake
comes out of the oven. More so, remove the spring-form
pan, except the metal base, after chilling.

When you see a crack in the cheesecake, do not fret,
but simply use it as a starting point when cutting the
first slice.

The Cutting, Freezing and Draining

To cut a baked cheesecake, use a knife and dip it in
warm water. Always remember to dry the knife before
slicing each piece of the cheesecake.

Since cheesecakes are high in fat, they can freeze up
well for two weeks if covered tightly in both foil and
film. However, cheesecakes with high water content
will tend to become icy. In this case, freezing is not
advisable.

Lastly, in draining fresh cheesecakes, you can line a
medium sieve that is about eight inches wide, colander
or fine strainer with two layers of damp cheesecloth.
Set them over a bowl and refrigerate after covering.

Going Conventional: The Sweet Cheesecakes

Cheesecake is probably the most popular cheese-based
dessert. This delightful pie made its debut in Ancient
Greece around 776 B.C. during the first Olympic Games.
It was served to athletes to help and prepare them for
several rigorous events. It was only centuries later
when the cheesecake found its way to North America
where it was welcomed with open arms and hungry
stomachs.

The invention of cream cheese in 1872 by a dairy
farmer was a milestone in cheesecake history. Today,
cream cheese is the most popular kind of cheese used
for cheesecake recipes.

The Sweet Types of Cheesecakes

There are two types of cheesecakes: the savoury and
the sweet. Savoury cheesecakes, much like its British
definition, are aromatic and normally seasoned with
herbs and spices served as appetizers, often
accompanied with a salad. On the other hand, the most
conventional way of cooking cheesecakes is the sweet
type.

There are a number of methods of cooking sweet
cheesecakes. The Traditional cheesecake, also known as
the New York style, is heavily based on cream cheese.
Often, this kind of cheesecake contains a hint of
lemon but is best served plain and without toppings.

Another kind of sweet cheesecake is the Cherry. Cherry
cheesecakes are similar to New York style cheesecakes
because they are also based on cream cheese. However,
Cherry cheesecakes are topped with a cheery pie
filling though there are now variations including
blueberries and strawberries.

There are also sweet cheesecakes suitable for health
buffs. One example is the low-fat cheesecake, which
contain either sour cream or low-fat cream cheese and
yogurt. For vegetarians, tofu is an excellent
replacement for cream cheese and eggs.

Several cheesecake recipes have been popularized by
whatever country they originated from. The Japanese
cheesecake has a lighter style that can be achieved by
using whipped eggs and lesser cream cheese. As for the
German cheesecake, Quark cheese or cottage cheese is
used as a substitute for cream cheese. The Italian
cheesecake is based on the Roman style cheesecake and
uses ricotta cheese. Lastly, the Belgian or Dutch
cheesecake adds chocolate chips or cocoa and sometimes
condensed milk to the traditional cheesecake recipe.

The Classic New York Cheesecake

Probably one of the most popular kinds of sweet
cheesecake is the New York style cheesecake. This kind
of cheesecake was particularly developed in New York
during the 1920 by Jewish delicatessens.

Anyone can make the classic New York style cheesecake.
Firstly for the crust, you need a heavily cooking
spray-coated 10-inch spring form pan, one and one-half
cups of graham cracker crumbs, one teaspoon of honey,
one-fourth cup of sugar and five tablespoons of honey.
Mix all of them together using your hands until the
crumbs appear moist. Pour the mixture into a pan and
spread evenly across the bottom. It is also necessary
to pat the mixture down firmly using your hands.

As for the fillings, you will need five eight-ounces
bars of cream cheese, two tablespoons of flour, one
and one-half cups of sugar, grated lemon rind, five
eggs, two egg yolks, three-fourth teaspoon vanilla,
and one-half teaspoon orange liqueur.

Place all the dry filling ingredients in a bowl and
beat together until completely blended. Add the wet
ingredients and pour into a pan. Preheat the oven for
400 degrees and bake for ten minutes. When the top
gets golden, lower the temperature to 200 degrees and
bake for thirty-five to forty-five minutes. Always
remember to cool before serving.

Creating the Perfect Cheesecake

Cheesecake is a popular dessert admired by everyone.
Several styles have been incorporated with the dish,
which made each cheesecake unique. The basic
ingredients are now being substituted with modern
ingredients to complement the modern palette.

Ever since the dawn of time, mankind has been trying
to achieve perfection in every actions that they make
- and cheesecake is no exception. Fortunately, there
are several guidelines that can help one create the
perfect and delightful treat that has been available
for several centuries.

Learn the Basics

In the United States, cheesecake has become one of the
most popular desserts. The several cheesecake
variations have also been subject to debates by
several culinary experts. There are some who like
creamy and rich cheesecake, while others favor the
dense New York style cheesecake. Additionally, there
is the airy and light variety and the myriad of
crusts, which range from the classic graham cracker to
the Oreo cookie. The whole subject of cheesecake
perfection is confusing but regardless of the type
that you prefer, there are few secrets in baking
cheesecakes like a pro.

First off, remember to use first rate and quality
ingredients. Only opt for AA grade large eggs and
always remember that full-fat cream cheese can produce
the taste and texture that you are looking for.
Fat-free varieties of cheeses are only apt for baking
cheesecake that is chalky, soft, and slightly rubbery
inside.

Next, choose heavy cream that is pasteurized instead
of ultra pasteurized. Make sure that the sour cream
you are about to use has not actually spoiled or
soured. Additionally, make sure that all of the
ingredients are stored at room temperature before you
begin mixing, most especially the cream cheese. If the
ingredient is hard and cold, it will only create a
lumpy cheesecake and beating it to death will also not
help.

In order to achieve a creamy almost custard-like,
moist and rich cheesecake, remember to bake the cake
in a water bath, also known as a bain-marie.
Cheesecakes that are baked using this method are
insulated from the direct dry heat of the oven. Always
remember that cheesecakes benefit from the gentle even
heat a water bath can provide much like the bread
pudding, flan and crème brulee.

Lastly, the fruits are best reserved for use as
toppings since their flavors can get lost and muddled
in the cheesecake when baked together with the cake.
Plain cheesecakes topped with fresh berries finished
with liquefied preserves or cooled fruit compotes will
provide a stunning presentation and optimum taste.

Extra Helpful Tips

Always avoid on beating the cheesecake filling
excessively. Doing so would only incorporate
additional air and cause cracking on the surface of
the cheesecake. In addition to baking, make use of a
spring-form pan, with removable side and bottom. Place
the pan on a baking sheet in order to aid in avoiding
leaks in the oven.

During the actual baking process, make sure that the
cheesecake is placed on the center rack of the oven.
Do not be enticed to open the oven during the first 30
to 40 minutes as drafts can create cracks and cause
the cheesecake to fall.

Over-baking should also be avoided. Always be aware
that baking times are not always exact because of
several oven variations. Make sure that the edges are
puffed and the center slightly « jiggly » and moist;
these are the most common indications of a perfectly
baked cheesecake.

Cheesecakes for Health Buffs

The last dish that comes to a dieter’s mind is the
cheesecake. It contains large amounts of calories due
to its dairy content and more if toppings are added.
However, no one ever said that you cannot have a cake
and eat it too. No matter what the occasion is, be it
holidays or birthdays, it is never complete without a
cake.

Traditional cheesecake recipes are often loaded with
sugar and fat aside from calories, which could be
detrimental to the cardiovascular health. This can
take away some of the joy out of consuming and
enjoying a dessert. Fortunately, there are several
ways of cooking cheesecakes, which have transformed
the usual recipe by cutting back on the white flour
and limiting the use of ingredients that have
full-fat. These kinds of recipe create healthier
substitutions that will surely satisfy anyone’s sweet
tooth.

About Healthy Cheesecakes

Although the calcium content of cheesecakes is good
for the bone structure, almost all cheesecake treats
are not exactly light cooking. For instance, the New
York style cheesecake calls for heavy amounts of cream
cheese, five eggs, two yolks and cream. It is hard to
admit that cheesecakes are untouchable – and
uneatable- for health conscious individuals.

The absolute triumph in cheesecake history is the
creation of breakthrough recipes that still match the
traditional cheesecake recipe in texture and richness
while cutting the fat by half. Not only are the
fillings healthy in these kinds of cheesecakes but the
crusts too. There are also other kinds of cheesecake
that are designed for diabetics. These kinds of
culinary breakthrough are helpful to those who cannot
enjoy the delight of desserts after a meal.

However, even if the cheesecake is safe enough to eat
for dieters, the most important thing to remember is
moderation. Limit the cheesecake consumption to a
single slice per week. In this way, not only would you
enjoy the delight that the cheesecake brings but also
help you maintain your weight.

Healthy Cheesecake Example

A popular example of a healthy cheesecake is the
low-fat baked cheesecake. In this kind of recipe,
low-fat cream is used, as well as sugar and eggs
substitutes.

For the ingredients, you will need nine-inch reduced
fat graham cracker crust, one-fourth cup skim milk,
one-half cup of egg substitute, two to eight ounces of
fat free cream cheese bars, two tablespoons flour, six
packets of artificial sweetener or one-fourth cup of
Splenda sugar, two teaspoon lemon juice and one
teaspoon vanilla.

In preparing the low-fat baked cheesecake, first
preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. By using a
mixer, combine the flour and milk while keeping the
mixing speed at low. Gently add the cream cheese and
then increase the mixing speed to medium. While still
mixing, add the artificial sweetener or Splenda, egg
substitute, vanilla and lemon juice. Pour the batter
into the crust and bake for at least forty minutes.
Wait until the cheesecake’s center is set. Always
remember to chill the dessert before serving

Despite of it being fat-free and only uses one type of
cheese, the low-fat baked cheesecake is actually
edible. One-fourth piece of each ingredient have the
nutritional facts of 256 calories, .9 grams of fat, 32
grams of carbohydrates, .9 grams of fiber and 22.7
grams of protein. This kind of cheesecake is
absolutely essential for those who want to enjoy the
delight of the cheesecake while avoiding health risks
and probably weight gain.

Cheesecake Cooking Styles

Once upon a time, when athletes in Ancient Greece
started competing in rigorous events at Olympic Games,
slices of cheesecakes were made, which basically
contained the three basic ingredients: cheese, wheat
flour and sweetener. They pounded all the ingredients
together until it attained a paste-like consistency.
They baked the mixture, cooled and served to provide
athletes with the energy they need to compete. This
was known as the birth of the cheesecake.

The Roman Empire then conquered Greece and acquired
the divine treat and spread it throughout Europe and
any territory they occupied. Since then, the basic
cheese, flour and sweetener, was replaced with
whatever ingredient native to the land that adopted
the cheesecake recipe. The usual white Greek cheese
was replaced by ricotta and mascarpone by the
Italians, Neufchatel by the French, quark cheese by
the Germans and cream cheese by the Americans.
Eventually, this monumental event in culinary history
paved the way for several different styles in creating
the cheesecake.

The European Cheesecake

The Europeans were the first to adopt the cheesecake
recipe. They were also the first to apply several
variations in the conventional cheesecake. There are
many countries that have also placed their own style
on creating cheesecakes and they include Italy,
France, United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

Firstly, the United Kingdom and New Zealand cheesecake
is similar. Their cheesecakes are generally cold
desserts that are neither baked nor cooked.
Cheesecakes from these countries are made with
crumbled digestive biscuits combined with butter and
pressed into a dish in order to form a base layer.
They used fillings or toppings, which mainly
constitute of sugar, cheese, cream, milk and gelatin
mixed together.

In Italy, there are two styles of cooking cheesecakes,
namely the Roman and Italian style. Roman style
cheesecakes use ricotta-like cheese and honey combined
with flour and traditionally shaped into loaves. There
are also other recipes that call for bay leaves, which
may have been used to preserve the treat. Nowadays,
Roman style cheesecakes are still baked in Italian
areas, which kept the culinary traditions alive after
the fall of Rome.

On the other hand, Italian style cheesecakes are the
modern versions of the Roman cheesecake. These
cheesecakes use either mascarpone or ricotta cheese
and replace honey with sugar. They also omitted the
use of bay leaves and added other new-age ingredients,
such as: barley flakes and vanilla extract. Typically,
this type of cheesecake is drier compared to American
style cheesecakes and often added with tiny bits of
candied fruit.

A very light cheesecake is the main description of
French cheesecakes. These cakes feature gelatin as the
main binding ingredient and are generally only 3 to 5
centimeters tall. This variety of cheesecake achieves
its light flavor and texture from the Neufchatel
cheese. More so, French cheesecakes are found outdoors
in markets at the South of France and fine pastry
stores in Paris.

The American Cheesecake

In America, cheesecakes typically rely on cream cheese
as an alternative to the French Neufchatel. One of the
most popular cheesecakes in America is the New York
style cheesecake. This was made famous by a deli and
relies on cream cheese, heavy cream, eggs, and egg
yolks in order to add a smooth consistency and
richness.

New York style cheesecakes are also known as Jewish
style and are baked in a specific 13 to 15 centimeter
tall spring form pan in several restaurants. There are
also other recipes of the cheesecake that use lemon
and cottage cheese for distinct flavor and texture.

All About the Cheese in the Cheesecake

What makes cheesecakes adaptable to any culinary style
is their cheese. Back in Ancient Greece, every market
sold cheeses to those who cannot make their own. By
the time the fourth century B.C. came, the most
accepted white Greek cheeses were being seasoned with
spices and baked into a manner similar to pies and
cakes. Even the Romans, during the height of their
power, used a great deal of cheese in their cooking.
They preserved cheese using a salt-based sauce and
provided the recipe for the celebration of the wedding
cake, which still contain cheese as the main
ingredient.

The Americans and Their Cream Cheese

A soft, mild-tasting, sweet, white cheese is the cream
cheese. Generally, cream cheese contains at least 33
percent milk fat and a moisture content of not more
than 55 percent and a pH level ranging from 4.4 to
4.9. Cream cheese is not usually matured and is meant
to be consumed fresh. This makes it diverse from other
supple cheeses, like the Neufchatel and the Europe’s
Brie. The taste, production and texture of the cream
cheese are more comparable to that of the Mascarpone
and Boursin.

Cream cheese was known to originate in the United
States during the year 1872. In Chester, New York, a
dairyman developed a richer cheese made from whole
milk and cream. During the year 1880, A.L. Reynolds,
one of the cheese distributors in New York, first
began issuing cream cheese, which was then covered in
tin-foil wrappers, called the Philadelphia Brand.
Hence, the name Philadelphia Brand cream cheese was
adopted by the Reynolds for the product since, at that
time, the quality of food products were related with
the city where it originated.

It was not until 1912, when James L. Kraft created the
pasteurized cheese. This invention eventually led to
the improvement of the pasteurized Philadelphia Brand
cream cheese, which is not the most fashionable cheese
used in making cheesecakes.

The French and Their Neufchatel

While the Americans like to use cream cheeses for
their cheesecakes, the French used Neufchatel cheese
in their own culinary style of creating cheesecakes.
Neufchatel is a flavorful cheese that provides
cheesecakes with a light and airy texture and
eventually became the basis of the modern American
cheesecake.

The French Neufchatel is slightly crumbly, soft and
mould-ripened made in the region of Normandy. It was
one of the oldest cheeses in France with production
dating back as far as the 6th century. Neufchatel
cheese is somewhat similar to camembert in appearance,
with a white, dry and edible rind, but with a sharper
and saltier taste.

Additionally, Neufchatel cheese has the aroma and
taste of mushrooms. What makes this cheese different
is that unlike other cheeses with soft and white
rinds, Neufchatel cheese has a grainy texture.

Although, Neufchatel has been less popular after the
World War II, several cheesecake recipes still use the
cheese. In fact, there are also Americans who likes to
use Neufchatel instead of cream cheese when making
cheesecakes, which they can purchase at several
gourmet shops.

The Italians and Their Ricotta

When the Italian adopted the cheesecake recipe, they
used ricotta cheese to make their cheesecake a little
drier.

Ricotta cheese is a whey cheese made in Italy. It uses
whey, which is a limpid, low-fat and nutritious liquid
that is the by-product of cheese production. In its
basic form, ricotta is also an un-ripened and uncooked
curd, which is normally un-drained of its whey. It has
a fresh, creamy and grainy white appearance, slightly
sweet in taste and usually contains around 5% fat.