A Greek writer named Athenaeus recorded the oldest surviving cheesecake recipe. The ancient dessert called for just three ingredients—cheese, honey, and flour. Despite its simplicity, the Greeks believed that cheesecake had special powers. Brides and grooms ate it as wedding cake, and athletes enjoyed it before the first Olympic games in 776 BCE!
The cheesecake we know and love today relies heavily on cream cheese, which wasn’t invented until the 1870s. By the early 1900s, cheesecake appeared on almost every restaurant menu in New York City and soon became a nationwide sensation. People love to experiment with interesting cheesecake flavors like piña colada, turtle, pumpkin, pecan, crème brûlée, red velvet, and of course, white chocolate.
Five Fun Facts:
- There is disagreement on whether a true New York cheesecake should or should not have a crust. If it has a crust, it is to be only a thin dusting of graham cracker crumbs.
- Pennsylvania Dutch-style cheesecake uses a slightly tangy type of cheese with larger curds and less water content, called pot or farmer's cheese.
- Philadelphia-style cheesecake is lighter in texture, yet richer in flavour than New York style cheesecake.
- Country-style cheesecake uses buttermilk to produce a firm texture while decreasing the pH (increasing acidity) to extend shelf life.
- Dutch/Belgian-style cheesecakes are typically flavored with melted bittersweet chocolate. Belgian cheesecake also includes a speculaas crust (speculaas is a traditional Dutch-Belgian biscuit).
Five Cheesecake Recipes:
- Low-Fat Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake - Lose the fat but not the flavor with this light and lovely chocolate raspberry cheesecake.
- Chocolate Chip Cheesecake- A classic kosher cheesecake made all the more delectable by adding chocolate chips. Perfect for Shavuot or anytime you want a dairy dessert.
- Basic Cheesecake- Thanks to our colleague, Chef Peter Babcock, for providing this recipe, perfect for Shavuot.
- Candied Orange Cheesecake- Jamie says: I love candied orange peels. (I know it seems like I love everything. Guess I just love good food; but I share only the best of the best with you!)
- Marmalade-Glazed Orange Cheesecake - Our Test Kitchen created this showpiece cheesecake to celebrate one of winter's brightest gifts: the orange. It is exceptionally rich and creamy-tasting, but lower in saturated fat than a traditional cheesecake. The secret is to replace most of the cream cheese with pureed cottage cheese. Be sure to let the food processor do its job and process the cottage cheese until it has a silky texture.
Click for more cheesecake recipes.
Nutritional information per one 125g slice of cheescake:
Fat: 28 g
Carbohydrates: 32 g
Cholesterol: 69 mg
Sodium: 259 mg
Protein: 7 g
Sugars: 27 g